About Math Fun Facts
I developed Math Fun Facts in 1994 as a warmup activity
for the calculus courses I taught as a graduate
student at Harvard.
Calculus was the final math course
that most of my students would take, and
I worried that
they would emerge from college with the mistaken notion that
all of mathematics was "just more calculus".
Most college students never see the interesting stuff that
motivates mathematicians to study the subject.
So, I began to tell them
"Fun Facts"daily
mathematical tidbits from all areas of mathematics
(not just calculus), meant
to arouse their curiosity
and fascination with the subject.
Fun Facts give students a glimpse that mathematics
is full of interesting ideas, patterns,
and new modes of thinking.
The student reaction to Fun Facts was highly
positive. Once I started, I couldn't
stopstudents would clamor for them if I forgot
to give one. They stopped me after class to discuss
them, began to create their own, and were motivated
to take other math courses because of the Fun Facts they
learned.
I got the idea from something that one of my college professors
(John Jones) did;
he once wrote an interesting infinite series on the board
and called it a "fun fact".
I thought to myself: why not do
something like this everyday and include
brief fun facts from all areas of mathematics? I told
myself that if I became a professor someday, I
would try it...
So here, on this site, is an archive of many of the
Fun Facts that my
colleagues and I have collected.
I launched this site on July 20, 1999 so that
others might use it as a resource and
repository of ideas, and it continues to grow.
I hope you enjoy this site... do feel free to visit often!

Best wishes,
Francis Edward
Su
July 1999


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