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Math and Magic

Abbra, cadabra ... 1+2 is ... not really magic. But math can be magical when you master the tricks of the trade.
Math and Magic is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 80.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to follow, lots of fun I am following through this course with son who is absolutely loving it. He is impressing his school mates with these card tricks. A very fun, well explained, and entertaining course, with a very clear and engaging instructor.
Date published: 2023-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb I came across Professor Benjamin 15 years ago on a UK Open University Maths course. I immediately purchased some of his courses from The Great Courses. He is a gifted teacher with a wonderful warm personality. We are so fortunate in the age of the internet to have his talents at our disposal. Wondrium has many wondeful courses of which this one, for me, is one of the best!
Date published: 2022-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magic at it's best Exactly what I expected. Wanted to buy this for several years - not sure why I waited. Shows the "magic" trick, then how, then why. Perfect. Prof Benjamin is engaging and clearly loves the math and magic. I needed to review several times and keep practicing. But great course. Absolutely recommend if you like "magic" but also have an interest in Math.
Date published: 2022-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a bit sad -- you sent me the same package -- could have just got the one -- but very confusing -- one book almost the same as the other -- for both courses this happened. I donated to library..
Date published: 2022-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Math and Magic Thus far it's been great! I love magic and this has been perfect!
Date published: 2022-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Some good tricks Some card tricks are very good, some complex. Same for math tricks. Overall worth the time and money!
Date published: 2022-09-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very clear Concepts and tricks are explained very clearly. Be aware however, this course emphasizes more math than the magic.
Date published: 2022-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Christmas present I bought the DVD as a Christmas present for my grandson. I hope he will become as interested in magic as I was at his age. I cannot really review the course as it is still in shrink-wrap.
Date published: 2022-07-10
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Discover the magic of math in these 12 entertaining lessons taught by "mathemagician" Arthur Benjamin-an award-winning professor and acclaimed magician.


Arthur T. Benjamin

As a professor, I have always wanted to bring math to the masses. The Great Courses has helped make that dream come true.


Harvey Mudd College

Arthur T. Benjamin is the Smallwood Family Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He earned a PhD in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. His teaching has been honored by the Mathematical Association of America, and he was named to The Princeton Review’s list of the Best 300 Professors. He has also served as president of the Fibonacci Association. A professional magician, he is the author of the book The Magic of Math, a New York Times bestseller. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and has been featured in Scientific American and The New York Times.

By This Professor

The Joy of Mathematics
The Secrets of Mental Math
The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles: From Cards to Sudoku
Math and Magic
Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio
Math and Magic


Mathematical Card Tricks

01: Mathematical Card Tricks

Begin the course with card tricks in which mathematics is clearly being used, but the secret is not easy to figure out. Learn the invariant principle: Some qualities stay the same in a deck even though the order of cards is changing. End with what Professor Benjamin calls the “tear-able” trick, being careful to use cards that you don’t mind wrecking.

30 min
What’s Your Deal?

02: What’s Your Deal?

Explore card tricks in which the cards are shuffled, dealt, and flipped over in interesting ways, leading to surprising outcomes. Discover Hummer’s principle—an endless source of mystifying, crowd-pleasing tricks, based on random mixing of cards combined with a simple procedure that preserves a pattern that seems positively magical.

36 min
Look like a Card Shark

03: Look like a Card Shark

Professor Benjamin shows how to play cards like someone who would be thrown out of a casino. Learn the Jonah principle for always winning at poker. Get a “feel” for counting cards and develop the knack for telepathically communicating a hidden card to an assistant. Finally, who could claim to be a card shark without a trick that turns up four aces every time?

40 min
The Deck Is Stacked

04: The Deck Is Stacked

Investigate tricks based on the cyclic method of card ordering, or “stacking,” popularized by magician Si Stebbins and tracing originally to one of the first books on magic, published in Italy in 1593. Learn how to seemingly weigh a deck of cards in your hands and other miraculous feats based on this simple principle.

25 min
Perfect Shuffles

05: Perfect Shuffles

Professor Benjamin introduces a special guest, mathematician and magician Brent Morris, master of the perfect shuffle (also known as the faro shuffle), in which two equal halves of the deck are interlaced perfectly. You will learn two versions of this virtuoso technique—the in-shuffle and out-shuffle—along with sequences of shuffles that lead to very interesting symmetries.

30 min
Riffle Shuffles

06: Riffle Shuffles

Explore results of an ordinary riffle shuffle, where the deck is cut roughly in half, and the cards are interlaced approximately—but usually not perfectly. Depending on how the cards are arranged beforehand, intriguing effects are possible, based on Gilbreath’s principle of patterned sequences. Study several of these magic showpieces.

32 min
Magic with Numbers

07: Magic with Numbers

Master an impressive medley of number-guessing tricks, involving the golden ratio, the Fibonacci series, and other notable numbers. In analyzing how the tricks work, discover how straightforward algebraic expressions are secretly pulling the strings. The feats include the very first mathematical magic trick that Professor Benjamin learned.

35 min
Look like a Genius

08: Look like a Genius

You don’t have to be a genius to look like one. Drawing on young volunteers, Professor Benjamin shows easy strategies for mentally multiplying numbers by 11, dividing numbers by 91, multiplying any numbers near 100, squaring numbers ending in 5, and other seemingly fearless feats of arithmetic, without use of a calculator.

32 min
The Magic of Nine

09: The Magic of Nine

Admire the magic of the number nine. An ancient technique called “casting out nines” lets you pick out the missing digit in a bewilderingly long series of operations. Then learn to determine two-digit cube roots and also find the age of a volunteer who has hidden the number in a complicated calculation—all with the help of the number nine.

34 min
Look like a Psychic

10: Look like a Psychic

Hone your psychic powers by developing tricks such as these: Have someone scramble their birthday in a seemingly unbreakable code, which you decipher with ease. Calculate the hidden spots on a stack of dice. Use the parity principle to guess where your partner has landed in an alphabetic array. Also learn the magician’s “toxic” calculation principle.

28 min
Geometric and Topological Magic

11: Geometric and Topological Magic

Explore mathematical mysteries that seem geometrically or topologically odd. Consider a paper strip with a half twist, joined end-to-end, known as a Möbius band. What happens when there are more twists or if the shape is cut? Create an analogous shape by slicing a bagel. Also, solve puzzles with disappearing figures, including a rabbit.

31 min
Magic Squares

12: Magic Squares

Since ancient times, magic squares have given endless hours of fun through designing grids of numbers where each row, column, and diagonal produces the same sum—as if by magic. In this last lesson, learn to create magic squares quickly from numbers provided by your amazed audience or based on your volunteer’s birthday. Finally, end the course with a magic matrix based on the number pi.

37 min