Thursday, December 18, 2014

Professor Keith Devlin on Youtube

Dr. Keith Devlin is a mathematics professor at Stanford University in California.  He has authored many books in the area of mathematics (and Maths relationship to other subjects).  Some of course are related to college level mathematics, but others are what I call books on popular mathematics, books for the general public or for the more educated public, but not for a mathematics course.  He has been pretty successful will selling the books, so that reflects well on how well he is able to explain mathematical concepts to the un-initiated or mathematics enthusiast.
I discovered today that he has a series of five videos, each about 2 hours long, discussing a brief history of mathematics, titled “Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible”.  It is from a continuing education course that he taught in 2012.  They are available free on Youtube, and I highly recommend then for more serious high schoolers, college students, and adults.  The websites are provided below:
The first video talks about the development of ancient mathematics (counting and numbers).
The second video talks about the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio, especially about which popular beliefs are true, and which are false.
The third talks about the development of Algebra and how it is different from arithmetic.
The fourth talks about the development of Calculus and how it has become so effective a tool for us to use.
The fifth video focuses on how human beings acquired the ability to do mathematics.
A quick search of can show you the books he has written.  If you are trying to prepare for Fibonacci Day next month (11/23/2014 – 1, 1, 2, 3, …) I can recommend “The Man of Numbers” which discusses Leonardo Fibonacci the mathematical revolution that he kicked off.
Dr. Devlin also teaches a MOOC course for Corsera (online, non-credit, and FREE) that teaches mathematical thinking.  See  for details.
He authors a monthly article for the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) called “Devlin’s Angle”.  See:  And he has a website at:
Don't forget - check out the Youtube videos - I think you will enjoy them.


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