5 TED – Ed Videos on Mathematics you have to Watch

For the last day of January, I thought to share my top 5 TED – Ed videos everyone needs to watch. I have been watching and creating playlist with all their videos on mathematics, but I believe that some of them are a must at this point.

I will start with a short description of what TED – Ed stands for. TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of TED-Ed animations, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed website.

1. The math behind Michael Jordan’s legendary hang time – Michael Jordan’s legendary slam dunk from the free throw line has been calculated at 0.92 seconds of pure hang time. But how many seconds could Jordan have gotten were he doing the same jump on Mars? Or Jupiter? Andy Peterson and Zack Patterson share the math equation behind hang time.

This video presents the connection between mathematics and some aspects of physics. It also talks about a lot of people’s favorite sport: basketball. Moreover, I believe that just mentioning Michael Jordan is a big plus for the video, as it makes it more interesting for pupils and people interested in this sport.

2. The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work.

This was one of the first videos that was an interesting shock for me. Putting mathematics and physics together to understand the painting of a great artists was an incredible discovery for me. This became even more incredible, when I understood that Van Gogh’s art is a great representation of turbulence – a well studied physics topic.

3. The Infinite Hotel Paradox –  The Infinite Hotel, a thought experiment created by German mathematician David Hilbert, is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. Easy to comprehend, right? Wrong. What if it’s completely booked but one person wants to check in? What about 40? Or an infinitely full bus of people? Jeff Dekofsky solves these heady lodging issues using Hilbert’s paradox.

Infinity is an interesting and mind-blowing concepts in mathematics. This was one of the concepts I discovered in my first year of university that made me very confused, at first, and extremely fascinated, after I started understanding it. The infinite hotel paradox is not something easy to properly understand and I believe this video is doing a great job illustrating it.

4. Inside OKCupid: The math of online dating – When two people join a dating website, they are matched according to shared interests and how they answer a number of personal questions. But how do sites calculate the likelihood of a successful relationship? Christian Rudder, one of the founders of popular dating site OKCupid, details the algorithm behind ‘hitting it off.’

This is a topic fairly new to most people. I first heard something related to this topic while reading about Hannah Fry. The video is narrated by one of the founders of this dating site, which makes it even more interesting. Another aspect I like about this video is the way Christian Rudder talks about algorithms in general.

5. The mathematics of sidewalk illusions – Have you ever come across an oddly stretched image on the sidewalk, only to find that it looks remarkably realistic if you stand in exactly the right spot? These sidewalk illusions employ a technique called anamorphosis — a special case of perspective art where artists represent 3D views on 2D surfaces. So how is it done? Fumiko Futamura traces the history and mathematics of perspective.

This is another great representation that connects mathematics with other subjects, art in this case. Mathematics (especially geometry) has played an important role in the evolution of art. Moreover, this video lightly touches some aspects related to our vision and how our mind processes information.

Don’t forget to check our last post, which is a short review on our December Book for the LThMath Club: Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott. Have a great day. You can find us on FacebookTumblrGoogle+Twitter and  Instagram. We will try to post there as often as possible.

Lots of love and don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!


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