Episode 4 of The Joy of Mathematics

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.

Running Time

29 mins

Year

2007

Kanopy ID

1274159

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Math in Your Head!

Dive right into the joys of mental math. First, learn the fundamental strategies of mental arithmetic (including the value of adding from left to right, unlike what you do on paper). Then, discover how a variety of shortcuts hold the keys to rapidly solving basic multiplication problems and finding squares.

Mental Addition and Subtraction

Professor Benjamin demonstrates how easily you can mentally add and subtract one-, two-, and three-digit numbers. He also shows you shortcuts using the complement of a number (its distance from 100 or 1000) and demonstrates the uses of mental addition and subtraction for quickly counting calories and making change.

Mathematics and Chess

Chess is more like doing real mathematics than almost any other game out there. You'll get a quick overview of how it's is played; learn how to see connections between math and chess; explore some classic chess puzzles and problems; tap into strategies and tactics for the opening, middle, and…

Go Forth and Multiply

Delve into the secrets of easy mental multiplication: Professor Benjamin's favorite mathematical operation. Once you've mastered how to quickly multiply any two-digit or three-digit number by a one-digit number, you've mastered the most fundamental operations of mental multiplication and added a vital tool to your mental math tool kit.

Mixed Strategies and the Art of Bluffing

What happens when you're playing a game with an intelligent adversary whose goals are opposed to yours? You have a zero-sum game such as penny matching, rock-paper-scissors, and simplified poker. Discover how to use math to bluff, play unpredictably, and win these kinds of games through powerful strategies.

Complex Numbers in Geometry

In lecture 6, you saw how 17th-century mathematician Rene Descartes united geometry and algebra with the invention of the coordinate plane. Now go a step further and explore the power and surprises that come from using the complex number plane. Examine how using complex numbers can help solve several tricky…

Advanced Multiplication

Professor Benjamin shows you how to do enormous multiplication problems in your head, such as squaring three-digit and four-digit numbers; cubing two-digit numbers, and multiplying two-digit and three-digit numbers. While you may not frequently encounter these large problems, knowing how to mentally solve them cements your knowledge of basic mental…

Expert Backgammon

Mathematically trained players also have a decisive edge in backgammon, which trains you to make decisions in highly uncertain conditions. Professor Benjamin explains the rules of the game, the basic strategies for winning, the best ways to play your opening rolls, and how math constantly enters the picture--from figuring out…

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.

Playing with Geometric Probability

Unite geometry with the world of probability theory. See how connecting these seemingly unrelated fields offers new ways of solving questions of probability--including figuring out the likelihood of having a short wait for the bus at the bus stop.

Circle-ometryâ€”On Circular Motion

How can you figure out the "height" of the sun in the sky without being able to measure it directly with a ruler? Follow the path of ancient Indian scholars to answer this question using "angle of elevation" and a branch of geometry called trigonometry. You learn the basic trig…

The Reflection Principle

If you're playing squash and hit the ball against the wall, at what angle will it bounce back? If you're playing pool and want to play a trick shot against the side edge, how do you need to hit the ball? Play with these questions and more through an exploration…

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