Inspired by Math!

Inspired by Math!
As the blogger at Wild About Math! I get to interview people who are inspired by math and are inspiring others.

Richard Rusczyk - Inspired by Math #39
Jul 3, 2014 • 69 min
Richard Rusczyk is the founder of the Art of Problem Solving, the premier community for high-performing middle and high school math students in the English-speaking world. I’ve always been intrigued with the world of math competitions and with what it …
Sue VanHattum - Inspired by Math #38
Jun 23, 2014 • 60 min
Sue VanHattum is very excited about creative ways to look at math. She has compiled and written a number of the chapters in a new book, Playing With Math, which is being produced in a community supported publishing (i.e. crowd funding) model. Listen to…
Lou DiGioia - Inspired by Math #37
Jun 20, 2014 • 62 min
Lou DiGioia is the executive director of MATHCOUNTS, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to extracurricular middle school mathematics. Lou and I discuss a number of MATHCOUNTS programs, including the recent National Competition, the National M…
Al Cuoco - Inspired by Math #36
Jun 14, 2014 • 73 min
Al Cuoco has taught high school students, trained teachers, and developed curriculum that is really making a difference in math education. He and Joseph Rotman have published a book with the MAA, “Learning Modern Algebra From Early Attempts to Prove Fe…
David Reimer - Inspired by Math #35
Jun 7, 2014 • 76 min
David Reimer, author of “Count Like an Egyptian” and I discuss Egyptian computation methods, how kids can learn to do multiplication and division without shedding a tear or memorizing tables, how computers and Egyptians both use the same approach to mu…
Tim Chartier - Inspired by Math #34
Apr 6, 2014 • 71 min
Tim Chartier is a math professor, a mime, and the author of the Princeton University Press book “Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing.” Tim and I talk about his performing career, how he became a mathematici…
Chuck Adler - Inspired by Math #33
Feb 12, 2014 • 93 min
Chuck Adler is a physics professor and the author of “Wizards, Aliens and Starships,” published by Princeton University Press. Chuck and I have a great time talking about lots of implausible science, some plausible science, physics education, Star Trek…
Colm Mulcahy - Inspired by Math #32
Sep 21, 2013 • 74 min
Colm Mulcahy is a mathematician and mathemagician. He recently published a book: Mathematical Card Magic: Fifty-Two New Effects. Colm was, like many of us, greatly inspired by Martin Gardner and he knew Martin for the last decade of his life and visite…
Kiki Prottsman - Inspired by Math #31
Jul 13, 2013 • 67 min
Kiki Prottsman is on a mission to get girls (and everyone) interested in computer science. Kiki and I talk about responsible computing, her non-profit Thinkersmith, her background in studying and teaching computer science, various of her other initiati…
Michelle Montgomery & Katie Fowler - Inspired by Math #30
Apr 24, 2013 • 73 min
Michelle and Katie are both intimately involved in creating the yearly Moody’s Mega Math Challenge together with SIAM, the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. The three of us chat about the contest, the inspiration behind it, what’s involved…
Ken Fan - Inspired by Math #29
Apr 22, 2013 • 66 min
Ken Fan is a PhD mathematician who became very interested in improving math education. He founded an organization, Girls’ Angle, to improve the relationship of girls to mathematics. Ken and I discuss a number of topics of interest to both of us in a bi…
Lance Fortnow - Inspired by Math #28
Apr 12, 2013 • 77 min
Lance Fortnow wrote a great book about the P/NP problem for a general audience. We discuss the problem, its importance, its interest to Lance, how difficult it is to solve, what some of the difficult problems are, and a bunch more.
Gili Rusak & Mary O’Keeffe - Inspired by Math #27
Mar 29, 2013 • 58 min
Gili is a 10th grader who is an inspired math community-builder in the Albany Area Math Circle together with Mary, who founded the circle in 2001. The two of them are making a big difference in how kids learn, love, and share math. We talk about math c…
Leila Schneps & Coralie Colmez - Inspired by Math #26
Mar 24, 2013 • 67 min
I interview the mother-daughter team who authored “Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom.” We talk about inspiration for writing the book, flaws in mathematical thinking, how justice is derailed by bad math in the courtroom, a…
Matthew Watkins - Inspired by Math #25
Mar 10, 2013 • 74 min
Matthew Watkins authored the “Secrets of Creation” trilogy, with illustrator Matt Tweed. The trilogy is amazing. It goes very deep into some very fundamental areas of mathematics. Matthew and I talk about his background, about the trilogy, about his in…
Maria Droujkova - Inspired by Math #24
Mar 1, 2013 • 65 min
Through the math education world Maria has become a wonderful friend. Maria is working tirelessly to start a mass math movement. We discuss her kickstarter project that has authored a book, Moebius Noodles, of advanced math ideas for toddlers and their…
Jason Ermer - Inspired by Math #23
Feb 23, 2013 • 22 min
Jason Ermer has spearheaded the Collaborative Mathematics project at I interview Jason about what the project is, what inspired him, what the response so far has been and what he is hoping to accomplish.
Erica Klarreich - Inspired by Math #22
Feb 22, 2013 • 65 min
Erica Klarreich has been writing about mathematics and science for a popular audience for more than ten years. We talk about her relationship with math, how she defines the subject, her relationship to it, problems with how math is taught in school, on…
Julie Rehmeyer - Inspired by Math #21
Feb 16, 2013 • 67 min
Julie Rehmeyer writes about mathematics and science for Science News, Wired, Discover and other magazines. Julie and I discuss a bunch of things. Do you have a story of when you first realized that you really liked math? How did you get into writing ab…
Dave Richeson - Inspired by Math #20
Feb 8, 2013 • 66 min
Dave Richeson is a mathematician, math professor, and math blogger. He loves topology and geometry among other things. He’s taught inquiry-based math which engages students to the n-th degree, he wrote a book for Princeton University Press “Euler’s Gem…
Shecky Riemann - Inspired by Math #19
Feb 3, 2013 • 61 min
Shecky Riemann is the blogger at Math-Frolic and now also at MathTango! He and I frolic through a number of subjects, getting to know who Shecky is, about his love of math, where he gets so many ideas for articles, how he and I are alike and different,…
Glen Van Brummelen - Inspired by Math #18
Jan 27, 2013 • 46 min
Why is spherical trigonometry a lost art? What is “Heavenly Mathematics” about and what background is needed to learn the material? To you spherical trigonometry is an exquisite branch of mathematics. How so? What calculations could be performed accura…
Keith Devlin (Part II) - Inspired by Math #17
Jan 22, 2013 • 49 min
Keith Devlin (Part I) - Inspired by Math #17
Jan 22, 2013 • 49 min
Dr. Devlin and I discuss his “Introduction to Mathematical Thinking” MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in great detail. 64,000 students registered for the very challenging course, although most didn’t finish. What made the course challenging? How did g…
Steven Strogatz (Part II) - Inspired by Math #16
Jan 14, 2013 • 20 min
Steven Strogatz (Part I) - Inspired by Math #16
Jan 14, 2013 • 44 min
How did you become a NYT columnist? How did “The Joy of x” get such a clever title? How did you get inspired by math? What makes you such a great math communicator? Who has influenced you? Tell us about one of your other books, “The Calculus of Friends…
Mircea Pitici - Inspired by Math #15
Jan 13, 2013 • 55 min
[ Note: Audio quality choppy in places. We did the best we could. ] What motivated you to edit “Best Writing on Mathematics?” How did you pick 24 articles to include from thousands? Who is your audience? What makes a piece of writing beautiful the w…
Ian Stewart - Inspired by Math #14
Jan 11, 2013 • 61 min
I ask Dr. Stewart to share his inspiration and enthusiasm about mathematics. Where do the ideas and the inspiration for writing your books come from? Where does your love of math and passion for sharing it come from? Is there an early childhood experie…
Alfred Posamentier - Inspired by Math #13
Dec 13, 2012 • 50 min
Dr. Posamentier and I explore triangles: what is so special about them? Why a book about them? We discuss secondary school geometry education. Why didn’t I and many others get a good geometry education? How is geometry a different beast from other bran…
Ed Burger - Inspired by Math #12
Nov 30, 2012 • 49 min
Ed Burger is co-author, with Michael Starbird, of a delightfully thoughtful Princeton University Press book about thinking, The Five Elements of Effective Thinking. While the book is not specific to Math, there’s plenty of thinking in all things mathem…
James Tanton - Inspired by Math #11
Sep 21, 2012 • 46 min
James Tanton is one of my personal heroes. James has a PhD in math from Princeton and he worked as a high school math teacher for a bunch of years. He’s authored a number of textbooks, puzzle books, and videos. James’ love of math is quite infectious…
Dora Musielak - Inspired by Math #10
Aug 17, 2012 • 37 min
Dora Musielak is literally a rocket scientist who wrote a historical novel, Sophie’s Diary, with a good dose of mathematics in it. Sophie’s Diary is the story of the coming of age of a teenager during the French Revolution. Dora and I discuss why she …
Seth Caplan and Dano Johnson - Inspired by Math #9
Aug 3, 2012 • 29 min
Seth Caplan is the producer of the Flatland movies. Dano Johnson is writer/director. They’ve just made their second movie, Flatland 2: Sphereland. I interview the two of them about the movies, the book they’re based on, the making of Flatland, and more.
Vickie Kearn - Inspired by Math #8
Jun 1, 2012 • 31 min
Vickie Kearn is the executive editor at Princeton University Press (PUP). She is also responsible for the math books PUP publishes. More than that, Vickie is an enthusiastic voice for the popularization of math, and she has a special place in her heart…
Scott Laidlaw and Jen Harris - Inspired by Math #7 (Part 2 of 2)
Apr 22, 2012 • 33 min
Scott and Jen co-founded Imagine Education, a company that is changing the paradigm for how computers can be used to give students a meaningful experience of math. Scott and Jen created Ko’s Journey, an online experience in how math can be fun and rele…
Scott Laidlaw and Jen Harris - Inspired by Math #7 (Part 1 of 2)
Apr 8, 2012 • 11 min
Scott and Jen co-founded Imagine Education, a company that is changing the paradigm for how computers can be used to give students a meaningful experience of math. Scott and Jen created Ko’s Journey, an online experience in how math can be fun and rele…
Michael Schrenk - Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers
Mar 29, 2012 • 34 min
In this podcast, Michael Schrenk and I discuss webbots, spiders, and screen scrapers. These are the tools that allow developers to crawl the web, to mash up contents from multiple web-sites, to monitor sites for activity and to create intelligent agent…
Steven Krantz - Inspired by Math #6
Mar 16, 2012 • 31 min
Dr. Krantz is a mathematician at Washington University in St. Louis. He has published more than 65 books. His latest book, “A mathematician comes of age,” explores the process of become mathematically mature. Dr. Krantz and I explore various aspects of…
John MacCormick - Inspired by Math #5
Mar 9, 2012 • 34 min
I interview John MacCormick about his popular new book, “9 Algorithms that changed the future.” Have you ever wondered how computers can detect and correct errors in noisy transmission lines? How computers mine data for patterns? Read the book but firs…
Tony Gonzalez - Inspired by Math #4
Mar 2, 2012 • 29 min
Tony Gonzales translated Hiroshi Yuki’s Japanese math novel “Math Girl” into English. Tony and I discuss the elements of Math Girl as a story that make the book magic and other subjects related to the book and to Japanese attitudes about math vs. Ameri…
Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman - Inspired by Math #3
Feb 24, 2012 • 49 min
Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman have written a fun book: Taking Sudoku Seriously. I interview the authors about how Sudoku is a great springboard for mathematical exploration, what Sudoku has to do with mathematical thinking, a practical application…
William Cook - Inspired by Math #2
Feb 17, 2012 • 34 min
I interview William Cook, math professor and author of “In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman Problem: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation” about his new book, and about how he got sucked into tackling a famous unsolved problem. We discuss why the…
Keith Devlin - Inspired by Math #1
Feb 14, 2012 • 32 min
I interview Keith Devlin on a number of subjects: mathematics as a way of thinking, the role of video games, the importance of learning math in a historical context, the value of story-telling in teaching math, and more …. Plus, the most important th…