ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Arthur Benjamin - Mathemagician
Using daring displays of algorithmic trickery, lightning calculator and number wizard Arthur Benjamin mesmerizes audiences with mathematical mystery and beauty.

Why you should listen

Arthur Benjamin makes numbers dance. In his day job, he's a professor of math at Harvey Mudd College; in his other day job, he's a "Mathemagician," taking the stage in his tuxedo to perform high-speed mental calculations, memorizations and other astounding math stunts. It's part of his drive to teach math and mental agility in interesting ways, following in the footsteps of such heroes as Martin Gardner.

Benjamin is the co-author, with Michael Shermer, of Secrets of Mental Math (which shares his secrets for rapid mental calculation), as well as the co-author of the MAA award-winning Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof. For a glimpse of his broad approach to math, see the list of research talks on his website, which seesaws between high-level math (such as his "Vandermonde's Determinant and Fibonacci SAWs," presented at MIT in 2004) and engaging math talks for the rest of us ("An Amazing Mathematical Card Trick").

More profile about the speaker
Arthur Benjamin | Speaker | TED.com
TED2009

Arthur Benjamin: Teach statistics before calculus!

अर्थर बेञ्जामिनको गणित शिक्षा परिवर्तन गर्ने सुत्र

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कसै कसैले गणित शिक्षकलाइ यो सोध्ने गर्छन कि, "मैले वास्तविक जीवनमा क्याल्कुलस प्रयोग गरुँला त?" र प्राय: हामी सबैले भन्ने, अर्थर बेञ्जामिन भन्छन, उत्तर हो--गर्दैनौ। ऊनले गणित शिक्षालाई कसरी डिजिटल युगअनुरुपको बनाउन सकिन्छ भन्ने एउटा साहसिक प्रस्ताव प्रस्तुत गरेका छन्|
- Mathemagician
Using daring displays of algorithmic trickery, lightning calculator and number wizard Arthur Benjamin mesmerizes audiences with mathematical mystery and beauty. Full bio

Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.

00:12
Now, if President Obama
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अहिले, यदि राष्ट्रपति ओबामाले
00:15
invited me to be the next Czar of Mathematics,
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मलाई गणितको अर्को बडा हाकिम बन्न बोलाए भने
00:19
then I would have a suggestion for him
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मलाई लाग्छ ऊनलाई मेरो एउटा सुझाव हुनेछ
00:22
that I think would vastly improve
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कि यो देशको गणित शिक्षालाई
00:24
the mathematics education in this country.
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व्यापक सुधार गर्नुपर्छ।
00:27
And it would be easy to implement
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र यो लागू गर्न सजिलो
00:29
and inexpensive.
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अनि कम खर्चिलो हुनेछ।
00:31
The mathematics curriculum that we have
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हाम्रो गणित पाठ्यक्रम
00:33
is based on a foundation of arithmetic and algebra.
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अङ्क र बीजगणितको जगमा आधारित छ।
00:37
And everything we learn after that
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र हामीले त्यसपछि हामीले सिक्ने सबैकुरा
00:39
is building up towards one subject.
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एउटा बिषयतिर अघि बढ्छ।
00:42
And at top of that pyramid, it's calculus.
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अनि त्यो पिरामीडको टुप्पोमा क्याल्कुलस हुन्छ।
00:46
And I'm here to say
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र मैले यहाँ भन्न चाहन्छु कि
00:48
that I think that that is the wrong summit of the pyramid ...
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मेरो बिचारमा त्यो पिरामीडको गलत टुप्पो हो ...
00:52
that the correct summit -- that all of our students,
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सही टुप्पो -- हाम्रा सबै विद्यार्थीहरूले,
00:54
every high school graduate should know --
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सबै उच्च माध्यमिक पास गर्नेले जान्नु पर्ने कुरो --
00:56
should be statistics:
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त तथ्याङ्क पो हुनुपर्छ।
00:59
probability and statistics.
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सम्भाव्यता र तथ्याङ्क।
01:01
(Applause)
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(ताली)
01:03
I mean, don't get me wrong. Calculus is an important subject.
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मेरो मतलव, मलाई गलत नसोच्नुस। तथ्याङ्क एउटा महत्वपूर्ण विषय हो।
01:07
It's one of the great products of the human mind.
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यो मानव मस्तिष्कको एउटा महान उपज हो।
01:09
The laws of nature are written in the language of calculus.
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प्रकृतिका नियमहरू क्याल्कुलसको भाषामा लेखिएका छन।
01:13
And every student who studies math, science, engineering, economics,
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र प्रत्येक विद्यार्थी जसले गणित, विज्ञान, अभियान्त्रिकी, अर्थशाष्त्र पढ्छन
01:17
they should definitely learn calculus
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उनीहरूले कलेजको पहिलो वर्षको अन्त्यसम्म
01:19
by the end of their freshman year of college.
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क्याल्कुलस अबश्य सिक्नु पर्छ।
01:21
But I'm here to say, as a professor of mathematics,
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तर मैले यहाँ यो भन्न चाहन्छु, गणितको प्रध्यापकका नाताले,
01:24
that very few people actually use calculus
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कि वास्तवमा धेरै थोरै व्यक्तिहरू ऊनीहरूको दैनिक जीवनमा
01:28
in a conscious, meaningful way, in their day-to-day lives.
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सचेत, अर्थपुर्ण रुपमा क्याल्कुलसको प्रयोग गर्छन।
01:31
On the other hand,
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अर्कोतिर,
01:33
statistics -- that's a subject that you could,
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तथ्याङ्क -- त्यस्तो विषय हो जुन तपाईँले दैनिक रुपमा
01:36
and should, use on daily basis. Right?
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प्रयोग गर्न सक्नुहुन्छ, र गर्नुहुन्छ। हैन त?
01:39
It's risk. It's reward. It's randomness.
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यो जोखिम हो। यो प्रतिफल हो। यो क्रमरहित हो।
01:42
It's understanding data.
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यो तथ्य बुझ्नु हो।
01:44
I think if our students, if our high school students --
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मलाई लाग्छ यदि हाम्रा विद्यार्थीहरूले, यदि हाम्रा उच्च माध्यमिक विद्यार्थीहरूले --
01:46
if all of the American citizens --
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यदि सबै अमेरिकी नागरिकहरूले --
01:48
knew about probability and statistics,
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सम्भाव्यता र तथ्याङ्कको बारेमा जानेका भए,
01:51
we wouldn't be in the economic mess that we're in today. (Laughter) (Applause)
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हामी अहिले भईराखेको अर्थतन्त्रको अस्तव्यस्ततामा हुन्नथ्यौँ।
01:54
Not only -- thank you -- not only that ...
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त्यति मात्र -- धन्यवाद -- त्यति मात्र हैन --
01:57
but if it's taught properly, it can be a lot of fun.
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[तर] यदि यो राम्ररी पढाईयो भने, यो धेरै नै रमाईलो हुन सक्छ।
02:00
I mean, probability and statistics,
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मेरो मतलव, सम्भाव्यता र तथ्याङ्क,
02:02
it's the mathematics of games and gambling.
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यो खेलहरू र जुवाको गणित हो।
02:06
It's analyzing trends. It's predicting the future.
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यो झुकावहरूको विश्लेषण हो। यो भविश्यको अनुमान हो।
02:10
Look, the world has changed
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हेर्नुस, विश्व एनालगबाट
02:12
from analog to digital.
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डिजिटलमा परिवर्तन भएको छ।
02:15
And it's time for our mathematics curriculum to change
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र यो समय हाम्रो गणित पाठ्यक्रम एनालगबाट डिजिटलमा परिवर्तन
02:18
from analog to digital,
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गर्ने समय हो।
02:20
from the more classical, continuous mathematics,
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अझ प्राचीन, अविरल गणितबाट आधुनिक,
02:24
to the more modern, discrete mathematics --
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डिस्कृट गणिततर्फ।
02:27
the mathematics of uncertainty,
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अनिश्चितताको गणित,
02:29
of randomness, of data --
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क्रमविहीनताको, तथ्यको --
02:31
that being probability and statistics.
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गणित, सम्भाव्यता र तथ्याङ्क हो।
02:34
In summary, instead of our students
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छोटकरीमा, हाम्रा विद्यार्थीहरू क्याल्कुलसका
02:36
learning about the techniques of calculus,
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हिसाब गर्ने तरिकाहरु सिक्नुको सट्टा,
02:39
I think it would be far more significant
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मध्यमा बाट दुई स्ट्याण्डर्ड डेभिएसनहरू भनेको
02:42
if all of them knew what two standard deviations
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के हो भन्ने कुरा यदि सबैले जानेको भए एकदमै सार्थक
02:45
from the mean means. And I mean it.
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हुन्थ्यो। र यो मेरो आशय हो।
02:48
Thank you very much.
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धेरै धेरै धन्यवाद।
02:50
(Applause)
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(ताली)
Translated by Anantha Swami
Reviewed by Deepak Basyal

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Arthur Benjamin - Mathemagician
Using daring displays of algorithmic trickery, lightning calculator and number wizard Arthur Benjamin mesmerizes audiences with mathematical mystery and beauty.

Why you should listen

Arthur Benjamin makes numbers dance. In his day job, he's a professor of math at Harvey Mudd College; in his other day job, he's a "Mathemagician," taking the stage in his tuxedo to perform high-speed mental calculations, memorizations and other astounding math stunts. It's part of his drive to teach math and mental agility in interesting ways, following in the footsteps of such heroes as Martin Gardner.

Benjamin is the co-author, with Michael Shermer, of Secrets of Mental Math (which shares his secrets for rapid mental calculation), as well as the co-author of the MAA award-winning Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof. For a glimpse of his broad approach to math, see the list of research talks on his website, which seesaws between high-level math (such as his "Vandermonde's Determinant and Fibonacci SAWs," presented at MIT in 2004) and engaging math talks for the rest of us ("An Amazing Mathematical Card Trick").

More profile about the speaker
Arthur Benjamin | Speaker | TED.com