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Putting the "Fun" in "Math Facts"

Looking for interesting mathematical tidbots, curios, trivia, or "tangents"...something to motivate the unmotivated, grab a student's interest, or extend the "interested" student's experience?

Math Fun Facts is a good place to check out (and hopefully use). Put together by Francis Edward Su (and other Harvey Mudd Mathematics Faculty), Math Fun Facts is offered as "a resource for enriching your math courses and nurturing your interest and talent in mathematics! Each Math Fun Fact is a math puzzle or short article that contains a cool mathematics idea. You'll can learn about the mathematics of things like card shuffling to poker to computer vision to fractals to music, just to name a few. This makes great enrichment material for gifted math students or problem-solving groups."

Chosen from the categories of algebra, geometry, probability, calculus, and topology, these examples should whet your appetite:

  • The Hairy Ball Theorem (pictured above)
  • Perfect shuffles
  • Medical tests and Bayes Theorem
  • Ham Sandwich Theorem
  • Banach-Tarski Paradox
  • Visual multiplication with lines
  • Inchworm on a rubber rope
  • Fourier ears only
  • One, two, three, Pi
  • Rational irrational power
  • All horses are the same color
Again, as HMU Professor Su points out, Math Fun Facts are short little ideas that can be used to "generate interest, arouse curiosity, and cause such students to look at mathematics differently!"

If desired, you can even sign up to receive the latest Math fun Facts via a RSS news feed.