Explore Over 100 Links and Meet the Storytellers Who Bring Mathematics to Life
Last updated on April 9th, 2023
Math communication exists. Period.
“What do you think, #SciCommers, about #MathComm? Does that even exist? @Susan_Silver”
It seems people make this assumption without doing any research. But, maybe this is the problem we have in STEM. It seems, at least to me, that people do not seek out information on math.
In my opinion, this is most likely due to the prevalence of math anxiety. Along with societal views that it is okay not to care about mathematics. There are people like my mother who purposely choose her major in college so she would not have to do any math.
I did respond to this Tweet with a ton of resources but I left out a lot of things. A lot of people. A lot of mathematicians work to inform and entertain the public about mathematics. I have gathered all the resources that I know of to make an epic list of math communicators.
I’m organizing this list by category.
- My hope is that this can act as an entryway into mathematics for math anxious people.
- Or help connect more people in science communications.
- As well as provide a resource for math teachers and parents who want to help their children with math.
If there is something you want to add to the list or you want more information then connect with me by sending an email.
Not all resources are family friendly. Please check them out before sharing them with children.
I will also say that this list probably has a UK bias. This is because I mostly watch Numberphile.
There is a television show you can watch right now. It will entertain you and get you laughing about mathematics. It also happens to be my favorite tv show of all time, Futurama.
Many gags are easy to miss because they appear on screen so briefly. They are often references to mathematics. If you want to see what I mean, watch the episode “The Prisoner of Benda.” The premise is a legit mathematical theorem developed for the episode. Written by a staff writer who was also a mathematician, Ken Keeler. You can watch it in the US on Hulu (Season 7, Episode 10.)
When I was a kid, I would watch Saturday Morning Cartoons. So hard to believe that isn’t a thing anymore. It was during this time that ABC would show Schoolhouse Rock! segments. Doing research for this, I discovered that they did a 50th anniversary special this year. You can catch clips on YouTube but you can stream them all on Disney+. This is my favorite song from what they call Multiplication Rock.
SquareOne TV is a show that aired on my local PBS station when I was a kid. It was a children’s show that was all about mathematics. I was able to learn the rules for adding and subtracting negative numbers by watching it. You can still find clips on YouTube.
Of course, we cannot forget The Count from Sesame Street! This is a children’s show that teaches about numbers and letters. Here is a 40 minute compilation of sketches from different years of the show.
This one comes from over the pond, QI. Which stands for Quite Interesting. This is a panel show where contestants don’t guess the right answer. They come up with the most interesting or funny ones. It was originally hosted by Stephen Fry but now it is Sandi Toksvig. The show features many science questions, and of course, mathematics from time to time.
The first one that I want to list is Stand and Deliver. I almost forgot about this one but found it when I was doing research. It has an important message about believing in yourself.
This is what I would tell my younger math anxious self. It matters far less what people think of your abilities. What matters is what you believe about yourself. I wish that I had understood that then.
If you are having a hard time with math, my emails are open. Let’s talk about it.
I would recommend A Trip to Infinity which is a documentary you can watch on Netflix. They do try to explain it in the simplest terms. There are plenty of easter eggs for people who know more. A bit of a spoiler, some infinities are bigger than others. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvOZm0d4H0)
The Man Who Knew Infinity is about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. I’ve read the book and enjoyed the movie. It was dream casting with Dev Patel as Ramanujan. Jeremy Irons wasn’t bad as Hardy either but I still think we need to move away from the idea that he was cold, shy, and awkward.
I don’t want to leave out The Dot and the Line. This cartoon won Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars. It’s based on a story written by Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) and inspired by the book Flatland. A good watch for people who like geometry.
Well, let’s also put the Phantom Tollbooth on this list. Butch Patrick plays Milo. Eddie from The Munsters. Features a dodecahedron which is a platonic solid with twelve faces. It is also known to Role Players as the D12.
There is the Disney classic, Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land. For whatever reason, the segment on billiards is the one that I remember the most.
Hidden Figures is a wonderful movie. It took way too long for this story to make it to the screen. It tells the story of mathematicians Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Three black women whose contributions were vital to the early missions of NASA.
I will admit, I have not seen this documentary. I wanted to add it to the list since it is about the first woman to win the Fields Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani. The movie is Secrets of the Surface. It is an important story so I don’t mind recommending it sight unseen. International Women in Mathematics Day is on May 12th, Mirzakhani’s birthday. She passed away in 2017.
One documentary that I really liked was Between the Folds which is about origami. Paper folding often takes on modular and geometric forms, making it great for math art. There is a history of studying the subject in mathematics.
This movie is not for kids. If you don’t mind a story that gets dark, then you might like Pi. Described as a psychological thriller. I’m not sure if this is exactly a math movie. Though numbers are essential to the plot. I put some math songs on my playlist that only feature numbers. So I am going to include this one.
- The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry - This is a podcast from the BBC. Featuring award winning presenter Hannah Fry. The other host is Dr. Adam Rutherford
- My Favorite Theorem - Is co-hosted by Evelyn Lamb whose column I used to read in Scientific American. Her fellow host is Kevin Knudson.
- Numberphile Podcast - A podcast that interviews mathematicians. Many of the presenters from the main channel. Not the same as the videos. These interviews also appear on the Numberphile2 YouTube channel, if you prefer that.
- Mathematical Objects - This is from the folks from The Aperiodical blog which I’ll talk about a little later. Hosted by the mathematicians Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett. Where they use an object as inspiration to talk about mathematics.
- Think Queen - As I was writing this article Kyne dropped a mathematics podcast! Kyne is a drag queen who competed in the first season of Canada’s Drag Race.
This is where the Lists get longer. I primarily get my information from YouTube, Books, and Blogs.
These are all YouTube channels. I’ve watched them all at some point. I may no longer be a subscriber.
- Vsauce - I’m not sure if there are new videos. Though, I have seen some activity on YouTube shorts. There are some fun math videos if you look through the archives.
- Numberphile - The complexity of Numberphile varies. Some things are stuff you learn in school. Some things are more abstract.
- 3Blue1Brown - Regarded as one of the best channels on mathematics.
- Eddie Woo - Maybe the most well-known math teacher on YouTube. Can be helpful when you are studying.
- Combo Class - I discovered this channel through YouTube shorts. I enjoy it and there are live streams most days.
- Tibees - Another channel I started watching that I discovered through YouTube shorts. There is a** Flatland **like series. Describing what it would be like if we interacted with people in the 2nd dimension.
- Kyne - One of my favorite presenters who is also a Drag Queen. Here is a math pop quiz with Hank Green.
- Mathematical Visual Proofs - These are really special animated proofs.
- Another Roof - A new channel that caught my attention.
- Tom Lum - Not really updated anymore but there are still some relevant videos if you look for them. Tom is also a co-host of a science podcast.
- Vi Hart - Vi isKnown for doodling in math class and Hexaflexagons.
- Khan Academy - You are probably going to want to watch the playlists. They cover about every level of math you will learn in school. An excellent resource for studying. The website might be easier to navigate.
- Quanta Magazine - This is also a blog but occasionally they make videos as well. They cover news in mathematics and physics.
- The Royal Institution - A charity bringing science education to the public. Famous for their Christmas lectures.
- The Royal Society - This organization is a big deal and is one of the oldest scientific fellowships in the world. G.H Hardy and Ramanujan were both fellows of The Royal Society. Along with many great mathematicians.
- PBS Infinite Series - Videos on mathematics hosted by mathematician Tai-Danae Bradley and physicist Gabe Perez-Giz. Unfortunately, they are no longer making videos but they are all still up.
- 24 Hour Maths - So far they have had two streams. One on Math Magic and more recently Math Games.
- National Museum of Math - Uploads of lectures and events from Mo Math in New York.
- Ted-Talks - The archives have many lectures from mathematicians like Hannah Fry.
- Ted-Ed - Short animated educational stories including mathematics and science.
- Computerphile - This is a sibling of Numberphile with videos about computers. Also by Brady Haran.
- MathsWorldUK - There are so many gems here that haven’t gotten a lot of love. Check out their interviews with people in the mathematics community.
- Meet a Mathematician - This channel is a great starting place for someone looking for a role model who wants to know more about what mathematicians do.
- LATHISMS - I just discovered this organization and wanted to add it to the list.
This section is here to amplify the voices of people with marginalized identities. We all deserve representation and mathematics still struggles with this. This list is by no means exhaustive. Please send me an email with any links you would like to see added.
- Changing the ‘Face’ of Mathematics, with the Mathematically Gifted & Black Founders
- Out, proud, and combinatorial: a gay mathematician’s journey - Anthony Bonato
- Erica Walker: Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Paths to Excellence
- 500 Queer Scientists: Celebrating Diversity in STEM
- Invited Speaker Luciena Xiao (Helsinki LGBTQIA+ STEM Day)
- Computing Syzygies - Juliette Bruce
- LGBTHM22 - LGBTQ+ Organising in STEM in the 1990s
- Latinx in the Mathematical Sciences 2018
- Documenting the History of Black Mathematicians
- What is Indigenous Mathematics? - Dr. Edward Doolittle
- TMWYF: Building a community: Indigenous Mathematicians (Kamuela Yong)
There is more. I didn’t even go into all the lectures you can watch, classes being taught or documentaries. You can find most with a YouTube search on a topic you like. I suggest doing a query for one of your hobbies + mathematics. I bet there will be a video on it.
I am not including links in this section. If you make a purchase, I hope you will support an independent bookstore.
These are not books that teach you math. Or textbooks. They are books that cover a variety of interesting topics in mathematics. I’m organizing this section by the author’s last name.
Edwin A. Abbott
- Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Donald J. Albers & Gerald L. Alexanderson (Editors)
- Fascinating Mathematical People: Interviews and Memoirs
- The G. H. Hardy Reader (with William Dunham)
- The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity
- Visions of the Universe: A Coloring Journey Through Math’s Great Mysteries (with Edmund Harriss)
- Here’s Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math
Lewis Carroll with Annotations by Martin Gardner
- The Annotated Alice: 150th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
- How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics
- The Joy of Abstraction: An Exploration of Math, Category Theory, and Life
Dover Books on Mathematics
- Excursions in Number Theory
- The Bletchley Girls: War, secrecy, love and loss: the women of Bletchley Park tell their story
- Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality
- The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus
- The Mathematics of Love
- Bertrand Russell and Trinity
- A Mathematician’s Apology
- Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature
- The Boy Who Loved Math
- Alan Turing: The Enigma
- The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdős and the Search for Mathematical Truth
- The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- The Man Who Knew Infinity
- The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There
- Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality
- Math Games with Bad Drawings: 75 1/4 Simple, Challenging, Go-Anywhere Games—And Why They Matter
- Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them: A Cosmic Quest from Zero to Infinity
- Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World
- Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension
- The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing’s Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine
- The Prime Number Conspiracy: The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta
Marcus Du Sautoy
- The Music of the Primes
Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
- Math Curse
Margot Lee Shetterly
- Hidden Figures
- Fermat’s Enigma
- The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets
- The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories
Steven H. Strogatz
- The Joy Of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity
- Mathematics for Human Flourishing
Erica N. Walker
- Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Paths to Excellence
- Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards
This is a catch all for things that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else. I’ll try to give it some organization.
These are articles and videos that I felt were worthy of bookmarks.
- “Emmy Murphy Is a Mathematician Who Finds Beauty in Flexibility” - Quanta Magazine
- “Gloria Gilmer becomes 1st Black woman mathematician to have research papers in Library of Congress” - Good Morning America
- “An aperiodic monotile exists!” - The Aperiodical
- “Pioneering Mathematician G.H. Hardy on How to Find Your Purpose and What Is Most Worth Aspiring for” - The Marginalian (previously Brain Pickings)
- “Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk” - Great Big Story
- “How To Make Geometric Pies by lokokitchen” - Tasty
- Tool Assisted Speedrun of 2048 - dwangoAC, keeper of TASBot
- “Fields Medals 2022 Maryna Viazovska” - International Mathematical Union
- “How and Why Computers Roll Loaded Dice” - Quanta Magazine
- “Pythagorize the Flatiron Highlights” - National Museum of Mathematics
- ”The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature” - New York Times Opinion
- ”Being a Trans Mathematician: A Q&A with Autumn Kent” - Scientific American
- “Why You Should Start a Science Blog This Year” - My essay for Fancy Comma
- ”The First Annual #BLACKINMATHWEEK TWITTER EVENT” - Math Values
These are websites that are great for mathematics. Wolfram Alpha can solve many types of math problems. Wolfram MathWorld gives you explanations of different topics in mathematics.
- Wolfram Alpha
- Wolfram MathWorld
- Math Communications Wiki
- Khan Academy
- Free Code Camp
- Computer Science courses with video lectures
- Free Computer Programming Books
- Free for Devs
- The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences® (OEIS®)
- History of Mathematics Project
- On This Day
- Numbers API
- Biographies of Women Mathematicians
- MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
- Lists of mathematicians to follow
- Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA)
- Indigenous Mathematicians
- Black In Math
- Aces in STEM
These resources come from Annie Perkins via her Blog “Arbitrarily Close”
- The Aperiodical
- Quanta Magazine
- Math with Bad Drawings
- Roots of Unity
- Plus Magazine
All these locations are in the UK. Except for the National Museum of Mathematics (USA) and Ramanujan Math Park (India). If you visit Bletchley Park also visit The National Museum of Computing. They are independent of each other but located in the same place.
- National Museum of Mathematics
- MathsCity Leeds
- Ramanujan Math Park
- Bletchley Park
- The National Museum of Computing
I’ve linked to the most recent information for each. The Maths Jam website has information on International meetups.
- Talking Maths in Public
- Maths Jam
- Transgender Math Day
- National Math Festival
- G4G Celebration
- Math Zine Fest
- LGBTQ+Math Day
- Ada Lovelace Day
- Grace Hopper Celebration
Places where you can buy mathematical gifts.
- Optimystical Studios
- Megan Lee
- Michelle Mach
- We the Sciencey
- Maths Gear
- Hanusa Design
- Klein Bottles for Sale (from Numberphile presenter Cliff Stoll)
- Buy Dice including the D120 (Weird Dice)
- Dice Rings
- Puzzle Rings
This is the Mastodon server where the math community hangs out.
These are people that I follow on social media. Linked to personal websites or Twitter profiles.
- Matt Henderson
- Francis Su
- Annie Perkins
- Dr Katherine Seaton
- Angela Tabiri
- Kyle D Evans
- Holly Krieger
- Sophie Maclean
- Ben Sparks
- Peter Rowlett
- Colin Wright
- Christian Lawson-Perfect
- Katie Steckles
- Terrence Tao
- Steven Strogatz
- James Grime
- Tom Crawford
- Hannah Fry
- Dr Eugenia Cheng
- Brady Haran
- Matt Parker
- Steve Mould
- Evelyn Lamb
- Simon Singh
- Pamela E. Harris
- Erica Klarreich
- Thomas Lin
- Siobhan Roberts
These might matter more to people in mathematics, computer science, or technology. I wanted to list them for more visibility.
- Lesbians Who Tech & Allies
- The International Society of Nonbinary Scientists
- Her Maths Story
- Spectra Math - Association of LGBT+ Mathematicians
- Black Tech Pipeline
- Techtonica - A free tech boot camp for women and non-binary adults with low income
- Center for Minorities in the Mathematical Siences
- National Association of Mathematicians
The first two are musicals that were at Ed Fringe in 2022. It looks like the Alan Turing musical is returning in 2023. I hope that like Six, we will get to see them in the US. Tom Leher is a mathematician who wrote satirical music but also wrote songs about science like The Elements. Currently, all his songs are in the public domain.
There are amazing people in the mathematics community making art.
I volunteered with THRIVE not too long ago to run their Facebook page. They help people with marginalized identities who are studying math and science. It is also staffed by people who have those identities.
Text “THRIVE” 24/7/365, from anywhere: +1.313.662.8209 (US only)
These are dates of celebration in the math community.
- March 14th - Pi Day also International Day of Mathematics
- May 12th - International Women in Mathematics Day and Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday
- December 22nd - National Mathematics Day in India and Srinivasa Ramanujan’s birthday
I bet you are wondering how I know all these resources. I really, really, really, love mathematics (I’m dropping this Dimension 20 reference).
- Math communication plays an important role in people’s lives.
- It exposes us to a point of view that is more than a problem in a textbook
- It shows us ways of deriving personal meaning from the subject.
- Places like the National Museum of Mathematics make it tangible and interactive.
- Mathematicians who speak to the public help people relate to the topics they discuss.
Gathering these math comm resources shows the abundance of the community. I was alone in my love of mathematics as a child. With no one to connect to. Through Numberphile, I learned that millions of people feel the same as me.
I absolutely know that I haven’t covered all the math communication resources that are out there. Please email me if there is anything you would recommend.
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