Stand-Up Comedian Visits to Spark Interest in Mathematics Through Performance

Presenter Matt Parker on stage doing a comedy routine about Spreadsheets.
Standup Mathematics, 2018

Presenter Matt Parker on stage doing a comedy routine about Spreadsheets.

Co-Hosted by the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Honors College, "Stand-Up Math: Using Preformance to Engage People with Mathematics" is an open, public lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the Donald W. Reynolds Center's auditorium.

Matt Parker has toured worldwide doing comedy shows which are actually math lectures in disguise. He is the first person to use an overhead projector on-stage at the Hammersmith Apollo since Pink Floyd. Somehow a subject people claim to hate is proving to be a crowd pleaser.

Parker beleives mathematics is full of fascinating patterns and surprise results, and offers insights into the world around us, yet many people consider math to be boring, tedious, both, or worse. This is normally rooted in a memory of being forced to learn math at school. So how can mathematicians present the subject they love so that other people will enjoy it as much as they do? 

Parker will demonstrate some of his favorite bits of mathematics and talk about how he uses stand-up comedy to engage people in math.

About the Speaker: Matt Parker is a stand-up comedian and mathematician. He appears regularly on TV and online, and in addition to being a presenter on the Discovery Channel, his YouTube videos have been viewed over 37 million times.

Previously a high-school math teacher, Parker visits schools to talk to students about math as part of Think Maths and he is involved in the Maths Inspiration shows. In his remaining free time, Parker wrote the books Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension and Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors. He is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

His favorite number is currently 4,900.


Edmund Harriss, clinical assistant professor
Department of Mathematical Sciences


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