The Joy of Mathematics

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great idea wish I was smart enough to understand. Love math but math does NOT love me
Date published: 2020-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing A very good introduction or refreshment of some of the beauty that makes mathematics so very interesting and intriguing. I am not a mathematician but I do have a love for the enticement the course offers to explore beyond the introduction.
Date published: 2020-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun and interesting I recently bought the Joy of Mathematics course and have watched the first 5 lessons. Professor Benjamin does a good job explaining the concepts and makes the course truly fun.
Date published: 2020-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I feel like a kid in Junior High on Pie Day! I’m enjoying learning with no stress. That is pure joy.
Date published: 2020-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title conveys it all, The Joy of Math! Instructor shares his love of math, and presents math concepts without judgment. I am only a few classes into the course, and I have already learned so much!
Date published: 2020-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Going to love this I have just watched the first lecture of the Math course. As an 80+ year old person, l am so looking forward to seeing and learning more of what I have missed by not going further than Algebra. Professor Benjamin will be a true delight and interesting instructor. He, truly, make learning a joy and exciting experience.The fact that I can rewatch each lecture is a real plus.
Date published: 2020-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course I bought this a couple weeks ago I am very happy with it.
Date published: 2020-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learned things I din't know in Mathematics Let me say up front that Professor Benjamin is very animated and flails his arms about while he talks. At first, this was disconcerting to me. However, after the first two lectures I got use to how he speaks and found his method of teaching endearing. Professor Benjamin uses his gestures and facial expressions for emphasis, along with telling jokes, related to math. He can be quite funny. That said, I have had math all the way up to Differential Equations, in college. From this course, "The Joy of Mathematics", I learned many things that I had not heard or experienced in the lower math subjects and it was nice to get a refreshing review of the higher math subjects that I already knew. Each subject is well organized and leads into the other subjects. There are many examples, formulas and graphics to make the subjects easy to understand and, may I say, a joy to learn. Fibonacci sequences were one particular subject that Professor Benjamin is an expert in and manipulated this sequence in so many interesting ways that I had no idea the sequence was related to all kinds of other mathematics, besides sequences. Very interesting! Professor Benjamin explains simple topics, such as numbers and counting, along with primes, Pi, e, i, algebra, geometry, trig, calculus and many other mathematic subjects. Each subject was presented clearly and with examples of how they each can be used. The Calculus topics may be a little difficult to understand, if you haven't taken a Calculus course, but Professor Benjamin makes the subject matter about as easy as I have ever seen. If fact, he showed techniques that I have never seen, before, or at least, had forgotten years ago. I would highly recommend the "Joy of Mathematics" to anyone who has the interest and/or who wants a refresher course on many mathematic subjects.
Date published: 2020-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course. Appreciate your work, have a lovely Holiday season!
Date published: 2019-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Back to school This course allowed me to rejuvenate my understanding of mathematics as it was taught to me fifty years ago. I was thrilled to recognize concept of formulas that I had completely forgotten. The teacher is outstanding in clarity and pleasant personality. His level of speech is always accessible to the student, particularly because of the graphic support that is well designed and timely. I believe, however, that this course would not do for someone who has not done college mathematics before. It is a cursory review of great help for renewing for the subject. Do not expect to learn trigonometry and calculus with these few, however well designed and delivered courses.
Date published: 2019-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great example about number 9, Perhaps we discus this. I NEVER saw this coming. You Know number 9. Although Prof. Art Benjamin I/may disagree with his geometry . This gentleman has a obviously has a superior command of mathematics. I accept that he correct and I am not. However................. Prof. Benjamin state 1 is not a "prime" and later he says this is a prime? Yeaa I said this to a girlfriend in highschool?111??. Just say.
Date published: 2019-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from joyful,educational,just plain fun i,m 72 yrs. old the course brought back some good high school memories while refreshing my grasp of how much math has helped me in life.
Date published: 2019-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Joy of Math A new purchase for me. Still not excited by math and will have to re-watch several times to grasp, but glad this course was available.
Date published: 2019-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love the ease of learning. Just can’t say enough good things about Joy of Mathematics! Great topics and love the fact that it’s on demand and I can watch it anytime anywhere. I have learned more from this than I would in a classroom setting because I can rewind and review to fit my learning style.
Date published: 2019-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THis was an excellent service I enjoyed the system and I felt comfortable with the products and prices.
Date published: 2019-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Joy of Mathematics I enoyed the lectures, they were interesting and entertaining.
Date published: 2019-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Joy of Math First of all, I'm just a 75 yr old 'dummy' trying to keep from becoming too sterile in the 'head'. I can say that the series of lectures on Numbers Laws approach was new to me. Helped ease the understanding of where ( i ) an (e) enter the arena of usefulness.
Date published: 2019-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The instructor is fantastic, he has a great presentation and made a dry subject come alive with his energy and wit. If I had had him in College I wouldn't be repeating math 101 I will recommend this course to my friends and co-workers
Date published: 2019-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great insight I was a math major in college. The various lessons gave me a better understanding of numbers and associated theorems.
Date published: 2019-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly engaging and interesting. Instructor is eccentric but very engaging and easy to stay with. I taught high school and college math for 36 years and he still showed me new ideas and approaches. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2019-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Purchased this for my still inquisitive, intelligent 96 year old father, who never had the opportunity to finish high school. However, he always seemed to know how to solve anything. He taught me a love of mathematics, so I thought this my tickle his fancy! He is loving it! So excited to learn calculus and trigonometry. What a wonderful opportunity for him to keep his mind stimulated while he sits beside his dying bride of 75 years. Thank you Great Courses for the Joy of Mathematics!
Date published: 2019-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disc froze 32minutes in, glad I have the book The book is a good transcript for the video. The first disc of my Joy of Mathematics froze 32 minutes in. I haven't been able to finish it yet.
Date published: 2019-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from He makes learning about math fun and interesting! Dr. Benjamin is so engaging and brilliant - and able to introduce different aspects of mathematics in a way that is understandable. I am grateful too that I can pause and/or go back until I "get it". I flunked 8th grade honors algebra because I just couldn't grasp what was being taught. Now, at 63, math is finally fun and interesting. I haven't finished the course, but I am looking forward to the rest of the lectures - especially the ones on algebra.!
Date published: 2019-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor's Exuberance instills a Learning Ethos I am very happy with this selection, however, I have not completed it yet and would like to be contacted after completion.
Date published: 2019-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Joyful Mathematical Romp I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Benjamin's fond and -- and least for me -- fresh revelings of the wonders of Math. .I studied all of the broad concepts presented by Benjamin many decades ago but -- having had little opportunity to use them subsequently -- it was a great pleasure to become reacquainted with them once again. Professor Benjamin's careful but exuberant presentation of the material made this renewed acquaintance particularly delightful.
Date published: 2018-12-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from disappointing so far Mathematics is the language of science. I had expected to learn about how math is used to solve interesting problems in science and technology. So far, lecture 7, this is completely lacking. Benjamin uses algebra to play with numbers. Big whoop! I don't care. I can multiply large numbers longhand. He plays with fibonacci numbers but never mentions their importance in nature. Benjamin plays with math like a toy. I use math to solve real problems. I did better in high school. So far I'm very disappointed. Trevor Smith
Date published: 2018-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A few complaints, but worth it for some I am a retired engineer and still tinker with Excel, personal finance and regularly purchase math and logic problem puzzle magazines. So, I am not afraid of numbers. I think I was drawn into the course by the title, thinking that there would be something new or different included. I think the course is more or less a survey of high school and first year college math classes. In the end, this course was a refresher for me, particularly in the areas that turned out to be useless for me both at work and everyday living. As I watched this course, I just kept on thinking to myself, “no wonder so many people either hate math or just don’t ever get it.! There were so many equations, theorems, proofs, and mathematical jargon thrown out, with just a little bit of reference to real life applications. Sure, now and again he talks about applications (calculating odds in poker and horse racing, calculating interest rates,, etc.) He also mixes in some tricks for mental math or entertaining audiences, but I don’t think they will ever be that useful for me. Some of the tricks were very easy (such as multiplying any number by 11 or squaring any number ending in a 5), but I have a hard time figuring out when I will ever find the need to use them, maybe in some of the puzzles I do? In other cases, these “tricks” were quite convoluted and it just seems easier to stick with the traditional way you learned how to do things in school. This professor is clearly enthusiastic about this topic and knows his numbers. He is pretty animated and talks with his hands (and arms) quite a bit. There are times where he just zips through a topic, while other times it was just painfully slow. He spends a lot of time proclaiming that numbers and their patterns are beautiful, great, awesome, etc. I wish he would spend that time talking about real life applications of the math concepts, the importance or usefulness (rather than the beauty) of number patterns, and why it is important to go through the process of proving theorems (i.e. is it more than something you need to know to pass a test?) In other words, take it out of an academic mindset! Otherwise, it kind of leaves you thinking that math is mostly about professors and grad students spending every minute of the day looking for numerical patterns or the next largest prime number (which somehow will make you very famous). These real world examples don’t have to be shown through detailed mathematical calculations, but with quite a bit more discussion than briefly mentioning that Fibonacci numbers are used by biologists or that you find the imaginary number in engineering. I think this would help draw more people into the concept of “joy of math”. For me, the only ‘joy” in this course is the magic tricks that may be interesting to some, particularly children and teenagers. Even with the shortcomings, this course is useful. The professor does get the general points across in a variety of areas of math, and if enthusiasm helps you learn, this guy will give you a good dose of that! Generally, this course gives you kind of a primer if your are taking more challenging high school or college level math classes. If you have been out of school for awhile and are familiar with math, this will be a good refresher for you. Just be ready to pause and rewind from time to time. However,It is not a deep dive in any particular area. Also, if you are intimidated by math and do not need the higher level of math discussed (see the list of lectures to see what is covered), I doubt you will find this course useful.
Date published: 2018-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good way to get excited about learning math I bought this course a few years ago and set it aside until I finally got around to my resolution about actually LEARNING mathematics. I've finished Algebra I and II (Great Courses, Prof. Sellers) and Geometry (Great Course, Prof. Tanton) and decided to listen to these lectures to fire myself up (further) for Precalculus. A couple points: 1) You do need to be familiar with some mathematics to be able to appreciate what Professor Benjamin is teaching. You don't need to KNOW it - just have some familiarity. He gets into a surprising amount of depth and it simply will not make any sense at all unless you have some algebra and geometry. 2) Don't buy this course if you think it will teach you math. It does not - nor was it intended to. Its function is to introduce you to what math is, how much fun and interesting it can be and what you can learn if you are willing to wade in deeper and actually do the work. If you keep that in mind, you'll have a really good time listening to Professor Benjamin. He has the characteristic that all the best professors have - the reason why the Great Courses professors are so good: he is absolutely delighted by his subject and he communicates that delight and passion to you in a way that not only makes you want to join that "club" but makes you believe you can. He tells you about each of the subjects he has chosen and includes some fun math "tricks" in each lecture. For once, the lecture notes that come in the accompanying booklet are thorough enough so that you can actually go back to the "tricks" with enough information to practice them. If I were to change anything about the lectures, it would simply be to add a few examples of real life professions made possible by the work on the subject of the particular lecture. For example, the invention of imaginary numbers made it possible for . . . . But that's not a criticism really. Figuring it out is part of the fun of the subject.
Date published: 2018-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Joy to Mathematicians and Magicians I’m both, so was interested in what this was about. I enjoyed it immensely, especially the magic. I think I’ll have my granddaughter view some of it while she is on vacation with me in a few weeks. She just started in magic so this should peak her interest in math as well, even at age 12 she’s had Algebra, Trig, and Geometry. I found only one place where instructor assumed more than a student might know.
Date published: 2018-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I bought this for my daughter who is going into high school. She LOVES math and is very exited to have this corse.
Date published: 2018-07-16
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The Joy of Mathematics
Course Trailer
The Joy of Math-The Big Picture
1: The Joy of Math-The Big Picture

Professor Benjamin introduces the ABCs of math appreciation: The field can be loved for its applications, its beauty and structure, and its certainty. Most of all, mathematics is a source of endless delight through creative play with numbers....

31 min
The Joy of Numbers
2: The Joy of Numbers

How do you add all the numbers from 1 to 100-instantly? What makes a square number square and a triangular number triangular? Why do the rules of arithmetic really work, and how do you calculate in bases other than 10?

29 min
The Joy of Primes
3: The Joy of Primes

A number is prime if it is evenly divisible by only itself and one: for example, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11. Professor Benjamin proves that there are an infinite number of primes and shows how they are the building blocks of our number system.

30 min
The Joy of Counting
4: The Joy of Counting

Combinatorics is the study of counting questions such as: How many outfits are possible if you own 8 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, and 10 ties? A trickier question: How many ways are there to arrange 10 books on a shelf? Combinatorics can also be used to analyze numbering systems, such as ZIP Codes or license plates, as well as games of chance....

28 min
The Joy of Fibonacci Numbers
5: The Joy of Fibonacci Numbers

The Fibonacci numbers follow the simple pattern 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc., in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Fibonacci numbers have many beautiful and unexpected properties, and show up in nature, art, and poetry....

30 min
The Joy of Algebra
6: The Joy of Algebra

Arguably the most important area of mathematics, algebra introduces the powerful idea of using an abstract variable to represent an unknown quantity. This lecture demonstrates algebra's golden rule: Do unto one side of an equation as you do unto the other.

31 min
The Joy of Higher Algebra
7: The Joy of Higher Algebra

This lecture shows how to solve quadratic (second-degree) equations from the technique of completing the square and the quadratic formula. The quadratic formula reveals the connection between Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio....

31 min
The Joy of Algebra Made Visual
8: The Joy of Algebra Made Visual

Algebra can be used to solve geometrical problems, such as finding where two lines cross. The technique is useful in real-life problems, for example, in choosing a telephone plan. Graphs help us better understand everything from lines to equations with negative or fractional exponents.

32 min
The Joy of 9
9: The Joy of 9

Adding the digits of a multiple of 9 always gives a multiple of 9. For example: 9 x 4 = 36, and 3 + 6 = 9. In modular arithmetic, this property allows checking answers by "casting out nines." A related trick: mentally computing the day of the week for any date in history....

32 min
The Joy of Proofs
10: The Joy of Proofs

Professor Benjamin begins his discussion of mathematical proofs with intuitive cases like "even plus even is even" and "odd times odd is odd." He builds to more complex proofs by existence and induction, and ends with a checkerboard challenge....

31 min
The Joy of Geometry
11: The Joy of Geometry

Geometry is based on a handful of definitions and axioms involving points, lines, and angles. These lead to important conclusions about the properties of polygons. This lecture uses geometric reasoning to derive the Pythagorean theorem and other interesting results....

31 min
The Joy of Pi
12: The Joy of Pi

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It starts 3.14 and continues in an infinite nonrepeating sequence. Professor Benjamin shows how to learn the first hundred digits of this celebrated number, making it look as easy as pie.

31 min
The Joy of Trigonometry
13: The Joy of Trigonometry

Trigonometry deals with the sides and angles of triangles. This lecture defines sine, cosine, and tangent, along with their reciprocals, the cosecant, secant, and cotangent. Extending these definitions to the unit circle allows a handy measure of angle: the radian....

32 min
The Joy of the Imaginary Number i
14: The Joy of the Imaginary Number i

Could the apparently nonsensical number the square root of -1 be of any use? Very much so, as this lecture shows. Such imaginary and complex numbers play an indispensable role in physics and other fields, and are easier to understand than they appear....

31 min
The Joy of the Number e
15: The Joy of the Number e

Another indispensable number to learn is e = 2.71828 ... Defined as the base of the natural logarithm, e plays a central role in calculus, and it arises naturally in many spheres of mathematics, including calculations of compound interest....

30 min
The Joy of Infinity
16: The Joy of Infinity

What is the meaning of infinity? Are some infinite sets "more" infinite than others? Could there possibly be an infinite number of levels of infinity? This lecture explores some of the strange ideas associated with mathematical infinity.

30 min
The Joy of Infinite Series
17: The Joy of Infinite Series

Starting with the analysis of the proposition 0.999999999 ... = 1, this lecture ex­plores what it means to add up an infinite series of numbers. Some infinite series con­verge on a definite value, while others grow arbitrarily large.

31 min
The Joy of Differential Calculus
18: The Joy of Differential Calculus

Calculus is the mathematics of change, and answers questions such as: How fast is a function growing? This lecture introduces the concepts of limits and derivatives, which allow the slope of a curve to be measured at any point....

32 min
The Joy of Approximating with Calculus
19: The Joy of Approximating with Calculus

Exploiting the idea of the derivative, we can approximate just about any function using simple polynomials. This lecture also shows why a formula sometimes known as "God's equation" (involving e, i, p, 1, and 0) is true, and how to calculate square roots in your head....

31 min
The Joy of Integral Calculus
20: The Joy of Integral Calculus

Geometry and trigonometry are used to determine the areas of simple figures such as triangles and circles. But how are more complex shapes measured? Calculus comes to the rescue with a technique called integration, which adds the simple areas of many tiny quantities....

32 min
The Joy of Pascal's Triangle
21: The Joy of Pascal's Triangle

A geometric arrangement of binomial coefficients called Pascal's triangle is a treasure trove of beautiful number patterns. It even provides an answer to the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas": Exactly how many gifts did my true love give to me?...

32 min
The Joy of Probability
22: The Joy of Probability

Mathematics can draw detailed inferences about random events. This lecture covers major concepts in probability, such as the law of large numbers, the central limit theorem, and how to measure variance....

30 min
The Joy of Mathematical Games
23: The Joy of Mathematical Games

This lecture applies the law of total probability and other concepts from the course to predict the long-term losses to be expected from playing games such as roulette and craps and understand what is known as the "Gambler's Ruin Problem."

31 min
The Joy of Mathematical Magic
24: The Joy of Mathematical Magic

Closing the course with a magician's flair, Professor Benjamin shows a trick for producing anyone's phone number, how to create a magic square based on your birthday, how to play "mathematical survivor," a technique for computing cube roots in your head, and a card trick to ponder.

31 min
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.


Johns Hopkins University


Harvey Mudd College

About Arthur T. Benjamin

Dr. Arthur T. Benjamin is Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He earned a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1989. Professor Benjamin's teaching has been honored repeatedly by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In 2000, he received the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo National Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The MAA also named Professor Benjamin the 2006-2008 George Pólya Lecturer. In 2012, Princeton Review profiled him in The Best 300 Professors. He is a professional magician, whose techniques are explained in his book Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks. Professor Benjamin also served for five years as coeditor of Math Horizons magazine. An avid games player, Dr. Benjamin is a past winner of the American Backgammon Tour and has written more than 15 papers on the mathematics of games and puzzles. Professor Benjamin has appeared on dozens of television and radio programs and has been featured in publications, including Scientific American, People, and The New York Times. In 2005, Reader's Digest called him America's Best Math Whiz.

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