Magician and Mathematician To Speak at Baylor Mathematics Lecture Series

Arthur Benjamin
Arthur Benjamin courtesy photo.
Oct. 16, 2014

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Media contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (Oct. 16, 2014) – Magician and mathematician Arthur Benjamin, Ph.D., professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, will set the stage for two mind-bending lectures in honor of the Seventh Annual Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics. Benjamin will present his lecture “Combinatorial Trigonometry (and a method to DIE for)" at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21 in the Baylor Sciences Building room, D109 followed by “Mathemagics!” at 7 p.m. in the Baylor Sciences Building, room B110.

“He’s one of the most popular speakers on the math tour,” said Lance Littlejohn, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of mathematics and associate dean for research in Baylor’s graduate school. “He’s a show.”

Benjamin has appeared on many television and radio programs, including the Today Show, CNN, NPR, and the Colbert Report. He has also given three TED talks, which have received more than 10 million views.

“One of Art’s biggest strengths is his ability and talent to communicate to people the beauty and importance of mathematics. Many times, we mathematicians are our own worst enemies in trying to explain to the public what we do in our research,” Littlejohn said.

Benjamin received his B.S. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1983. He then went on to Johns Hopkins University where he earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1989. Since then, he has remained at Harvey Mudd College where he went through the ranks of assistant, associate and now full professor. He served as chair of his department from 2002 to 2004.

About “Combinatorial Trigonometry (and a method to DIE for)”

Many trigonometric identities, including the Pythagorean Theorem, have combinatorial proofs. Some combinatorial problems have trigonometric solutions. All these problems can be reduced to alternating sums, and are attacked by a technique called D.I.E (Description, Involution, Exception.)

About “Mathemagics!”

As a mathematician and a magician, Benjamin will demonstrate in an entertaining and fast-paced show to explain how to mentally add and multiply numbers faster than a calculator, figure out the day of the week of any date in history, and other amazing feats of the mind.

The Baylor Sciences Building is located at 101 Bagby Avenue in Waco.

For more information on Benjamin or the lectures, contact Lance Littlejohn at

by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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