As we turn the corner on the shortest (or longest) days of the year, here’s hoping this year will be a superb one for all. As some may be finding themselves with a little more free time on their hands, it seems like a good time to recommend another mind-flexing YouTube diversion we love: Numberphile. Sit back and let an endlessly engaging cast of mathematician-storytellers unfurl and explore uncanny corners of conception your algebra teacher never dreamed of.
On a roll
Produced by Australian Brady Haran, the absorbing video channel and website recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Appropriately, with a 10 minute, 10 second video about… the number ten. And Numberphile has impressive numbers of its own, garnering millions of subscribers, myriad contributing friends, and over 600 million views and counting. Oftentimes we’ve found, as with Spell the Beans, you can be sated no matter how deeply or casually you feel like thinking.
Haran also has a variety of other YouTube channels, which we’ll focus on at a later date. As well, there are Numberphile podcasts and Numberphile2, with deeper dives. As a quick introduction, check out this zesty video of Dr. Hannah Fry peeling an orange to map the world. Just add a little Euler. No numbers needed! We do find hand-peeling mandarin oranges with lots of air between rind and pulp leads to fewer broken appendages. And yes, Dr. Fry, we expect you to spare Adelaide with those villainous menacing shears.
If you need a break from scrolling your own feeds, let someone else roll out the brown paper, and prepare to be enthralled. Wobble with Matt Parker (more on whom another time). Fit round pegs into squares. Find pi in the meanderings of the mighty Mississippi. Just about any theme can work its way into these friendly folks’ considerations, metaphysically or otherwise.
We simply can’t do justice to the depth and breadth of Numberphile’s presentations in a short blurb like this. But trust us, they definitely help keep our deli case of thought-provoking snacks filled, fresh, and forever fun. Help yourself to complimentary coffee, cake, donuts, and ham sandwiches as you turn the corner into the rabbit hole. Even compare breakfasts with math celebrities in the sound checks. Spills covered, too.