Free Math Magic!

Published on Sunday, December 09, 2012 in , , , , , , , ,

Free Mathematical Magic eBooks from Peter McOwan and othersIt seems British Magician and math professor Peter McOwan, with help from a few others, has been busy putting together an astounding array of mathematical magic in recent years.

They've made all these works available in the form of e-books and videos, and generously posted them all on the web for free! In this post, I'll let you know where you can find this amazing body of work.

Manual of Mathematical Magic: Regular Grey Matters readers will already known about this book by Peter McOwan and Matt Parker, since I wrote about it back in June.

This book is very well organized. The tricks are taught in sections by the type of math involved, such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and so on. Each trick is subdivided, as well, into the trick as it appears to your audience, the method behind the trick, the math behind the method, and even where to find the same type of math in your everyday life!

There is a nice build to this manual. Early on, you learn a few routines that are simple, and you often find that later routines build on these simple skills.

The Magic of Computer Science, Vols. I and II: With a daunting title like The Magic of Computer Science, you might worry about whether these volumes would be filled with complex math and special programs. Fortunately, both of these volumes are a lot more human-friendly.

Volume I, in fact, teaches computer concepts using only a deck of cards. It's amazing how you can start from a trick in which you predict the total of 4 cards chosen by the audience, and then learn that this trick's principle is what makes CAT scans possible!

Volume II also uses cards quite a bit, but also has tricks with other props. There's an amusing and amazing vanishing robot routine, using a downloadable graphic available on this page. My favorite routine in this book, however, is “The Power of Prophecy,” in which someone takes a number of cards from the deck without you peeking, yet you can apparently divine how many they've taken. Even if you're familiar with this routine from other sources, the related lessons in algebra and modeling systems are worth reading.

Maths Made Magic: This book is clearly designed to appeal to the Harry Potter crowd, right down the visual design. It's made to look like it was printed on old, yellowed paper, and presents the routines as if they were spells and sorcery.

The methods, all real-world mathematics, are explained simply, yet still manage to teach advanced concepts quite well. As a matter of fact, Maths Made Magic uses more advanced math than many other math magic resources I've come across. It's not often you see magic tricks that help you understand sine and cosine, or simultaneous equations mixed with the Pythagorean theorem.

Mathematical Magic: Mathematical Magic isn't an ebook. Instead, it's an iTunes U course, playable through iTunes on your computer, or the iTunes U app on an iOS-based mobile device.

Besides the medium, the Mathematical Magic course is different in that not every routine is explained (Don't worry, most of them are explained). Knowing that all the routines are math-based, though, I like the fact that not all the tricks are explained. It's a sort of test of your observation and critical thinking skills that have hopefully been developed by reading and trying out the other routines.

Illusioneering: Clever Conjuring Using Secret Science & Engineering: If you're ready to get away from cards and pure mathematics, there's still plenty of magic to be had use scientific principles. Illusioneering features magic with liquids, wheels, balloons and other assorted props.

The math is still there, underlying the science, but these tricks tend to play bigger and be more visual than those in the previous books. The Illusioneering homepage also features videos of many of the effects (including their methods), as well. The Illusioneering book and videos are also available via iTunes U.

The price is certainly right, so take some time to download these resources, explore, and have some fun!

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1 Response to Free Math Magic!

7:16 AM

Despite being written in spanish, a lot of free stuff about maths and magic can be followed in the Divulgamat webpage, www.divulgamat.net, section "el rincón matemágico".