Brazil’s top math youtuber: ‘Math Maniac’

We should accept that YouTube has being become more and more important website in education. I myself has learnt French only from YouTube. YouTube has a vital role in math education and sharing advanced lecture videos. You don’t need to be at MIT to benefit those lectures! just go online and search in YouTube.

Here I am to introduce you a channel in Math: ‘Math Maniac’

Brazil’s top math youtuber: ‘Math Maniac’

Brazil’s top math youtuber: ‘Math Maniac’

With bright pink hair, it’s difficult to miss Julia Jaccoud walking down the corridors of the ICM conference, always with a camera, microphone, and tripod in hand.  She always wears her branded t-shirts too (this week’s shirt says Seja Curioso, ‘be curious’ in Portuguese).

Many international delegates will have seen the pink-haired woman at ICM, but she’s an internet icon in Brazil.  Matemaníaca (math maniac) is a two-year-old youtube channel, with more than 47,000 followers, where Jaccoud produces weekly videos that promote the learning of math.  “I wanted a fun name because math is very difficult to get people interested in. I also wanted a way to express myself,” said 24-year-old Jaccoud.  Hers is the largest math-focused youtube channel in Brazil.  While other math channels introduce math tricks found on major tests, the main objective of Matemaníaca is to get people interested in math.

Recently graduated with a degree in math education at the University of São Paulo (she missed her graduation ceremony to attend ICM), Jaccoud started producing math videos because she wanted to build on relationships developed with younger students in her student teaching assignments.  She also felt there was a bigger audience awaiting her online.  “I’m not an alien. I’m a mathematician,” Jaccoud said. “I thought if they could talk with me and be my friends online then I could introduce young people to math.”

Her Matemaníaca journey began in 2014 when she filmed a video introducing herself and her passion for math.  Her follow-up video, a tutorial on how to play Tangram, a Chinese dissection puzzle,  has been viewed more than 55,000 times. Other popular video topics include Brazilian public school math olympiad (OBMEP), math-intensive careers, and a tutorial on how to use probability to guess on exams.  He hair color evolves along with her video content.  “My channel is like art, and that is the way I communicate,” she said.

Since her youtube premiere, the 164 videos on her channel have amassed more than 1.3 million views. Most of her viewers are men aged 18-34, but she said her female audience tends to be more engaged and passionate.  Her university professors even use her videos in their classes.

At ICM 2018, Jaccoud mobilized many young volunteers with videos about the event. She has attended the international math congress every day, interviewing many of the world’s top mathematicians. Her newest video gives an overview of the World Meeting for Women in Mathematics (WM)², a satellite event held on the eve of ICM, and Jaccoud’s favorite event thus far (She dyed her hair pink to match the event’s colors).

Although Jaccoud has yet to earn a living from her online fame, she is happy to do something she loves. She launched a Padrim crowd-funding campaign this year, so her followers can directly fund her youtube channel (and so she can hire someone to edit videos). She also designs and sells her own t-shirts (the Seja Curiosa t-shirt is available here).  She plans to further specialize in math communications with a masters degree.

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‘A mathematician without a dream is not a mathematician’

‘A mathematician without a dream is not a mathematician’

An article from ICM2018.ORG

Crowds of international delegates gathered around Caucher Birkar following his plenary presentation at Riocentro this afternoon. Everyone wanted a photo with the Kurdish mathematician, who was awarded a Fields Medal for his contribution to the minimum model program in algebraic geometry last Tuesday.

Chairing the packed plenary session at ICM 2018 this afternoon Jungkai Alfred Chen from the National Taiwan University said he was “fortunate to know him in person for a long time,” as Birkar was a visiting scholar at his university from 2014 – 2016. “He’s always very devoted and willing to share his mathematical ideas. I’m proud that his project was made in Taiwan.”

Birkar is known for his creative approach to math and algebraic geometry and Chen referred to the recent work of his colleague as a “huge breakthrough in birational geometry”.   Recounting some of Birkar’s early life experience as a toddler in war-torn Kurdistan, before seeking refuge in the United Kingdon, Chen said: “he has a very inspiring story, especially for those young people in difficult place, in a difficult situation.”

Algebraic geometry is about studying spaces, defined by polymonial equations (these spaces are called varieties). “Roughly speaking, birational algebraic geometry is about classifying these spaces to put them into groups, up to birational automorphism – that just means you allow a little bit more flexibility of working with these spaces, you can modify small parts of these spaces, but leaving most of it intact,” explained Birkar.  “The main goal is to show that each of these classes you can find some representative, which is simpler in a sense than others. The minimum model program is exactly this process of finding these simpler spaces.

After his return from Rio, Birkar plans to continue to focus his research on problems in birational geometry for now. “There are many interesting and very difficult problems, but maybe in the far future, I will also look at areas close to birational geometry, maybe also analytic geometry.”  He referred to a chat he had the previous day with geometry guru Michael Atiyah (89), who was sitting in the front row at the plenary session this afternoon. The 1966 Fields Medal winner told him “a mathematician without a dream is not a mathematician.”

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Behforooz: If math is not fun, what’s the point?

We have before talked about math teaching in schools here (Why math is so difficult?). At that post a fact about Iranian teachers’ habits had been explained. I myself have had this experience that how much inspiration and motivation is important. But what I have experienced in Iran schools: you have got a good situation or you haven’t got a good situation. If your total situation (family background of academic education, family income and etc.) is good enough to support you, then educational system will work for you. If you haven’t got a good situation then all doors are closed to you. nobody will help you.  Read the whole story, especially when he says:  The 77 year-old professor who has been at Utica for nearly four decades said there’s no way to make a student like mathematics.  Put simply, those that love the discipline will do best.   He used crochet as an example.

Behforooz: If math is not fun, what’s the point?

Mathematics should be fun, according to Hossein Behforooz.   Students shouldn’t be scared.  If it’s not fun, what’s the point?  “In more than half of every class we have, there is this kind of phobia. People think that math is difficult, that math is hard,” explained the mathematics professor at Utica College in New York. “Math is a way to prove something and to make it fun, not to scare students.”

Unlike some ICM  colleagues, the Iranian doesn’t agree that it’s the teacher’s role to inspire or motivate students with their personal passion.  The 77 year-old professor who has been at Utica for nearly four decades said there’s no way to make a student like mathematics.  Put simply, those that love the discipline will do best.   He used crochet as an example.  “If you do not like it, you cannot make it. But when you like it, every knot is beautiful,” he said. “It’s art, not science.”

But, Behforooz’s chosen subject area fascinates both mathematicians and non-mathematicians.   A large part of the scholarship he produced is in an area called magic squares, containing grids with special arrangements of numbers in them.   Magic squares earned their name in ancient times, due to associations with magic and the supernatural.  The earliest record of a magic square is from China (circa 2200 BC), when Emperor Yu saw a magic square in the shell of a divine tortoise. In the West, magic squares were first used in the work of Theon of Smyrna, and by Arab astrologers in 8 AD.  They were later seen in the writings of Greek mathematician Moschopoulos in the 14th century.

Magic squares retain their popularality as tools to help students solve and practice addition problems. Their arrangements are special because every diagonal, row and column add up to the same number.  Behforooz said Brazil is clearly on the right path. “I heard that there are more than 500 Math Olympiad medallists here,” he said. “That is great, that is fantastic.”

Hosting the International Congress of Mathematicians in the southern hemisphere will reinforce positive ideas around math.  It gives the message that mathematics is both accessible and fun for any student, anywhere in the world, Behforooz said.   He hopes to meet an younger cohort of mathematicians at the next ICM in Russia.

“This is my ninth time to ICM. I hope I will be alive to go to the tenth one in Russia!” he laughed. “It’s very prestigious here [in Rio]. You had the Olympics, and you had the World Cup.  The IMC was another chance to show that high achievement isn’t not just for the upper hemisphere.”


2018 Fields Medal Media Coverage

At this link of you can find a set of some links of articles and news about ICM 2018. I find it a good idea to have all these links in one single post:

2018 Fields Medal Media Coverage 
August 07, 2018

Mathematicians Caucher BirkarAlessio FigalliPeter Scholze, and Akshay Venkatesh were awarded Fields Medals at the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Read more about the mathematicians and their work.

“A Number Theorist Who Bridges Math and Time,” by Erica Klarreich, Quanta Magazine, August 1, 2018;

“A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic,” by Erica Klarreich, Quanta Magazine, August 1, 2018;

“An Innovator Who Brings Order to an Infinitude of Equations,” by Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, August 1, 2018;

“A Traveler Who Finds Stability in the Natural World,” by Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, August 1, 2018;

“Fields Medals Awarded to 4 Mathematicians,” by Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, August 1, 2018;

“Five superstars win ‘math’s Nobel Prize’,” by Frankie Schembri, Science, August 1, 2018;

“Fields medal: UK refugee wins ‘biggest maths prize’,” by Paul Rincon, BBC, August 1, 2018;

“Kurdish refugee wins the Fields medal – the biggest prize in maths,” by Gilead Amit, New Scientist, August 1, 2018;

“Former refugee among winners of Fields medal – the ‘Nobel prize for maths’,” by Nicola Davis and Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, August 1, 2018;

“Maths hands out its ‘Nobel Prize’ to an Australian — here’s why you should care,”by Daniel Keane, ABC News, August 1, 2018;

“Number-theory prodigy among winners of most coveted prize in mathematics,”by Davide Castelvecchi, Nature, August 1, 2018;

“Indian-Origin Professor Wins Fields Medal, The ‘Nobel of Mathematics’,”  NDTV, August 1, 2018;

“Swiss-based mathematician wins prestigious prize,” Swiss Info, August, 1, 2018;

“Italian professor wins Fields Medal, world’s highest honor for mathematics,” by Stefania Fumo, Xinhuanet, August 2, 2018;

“Fields Medal: Aussie genius Akshay Venkatesh wins ‘Nobel Prize of mathematics’,” by Michael Slezak, ABC News, August 2, 2018;

“Stanford mathematician wins Fields Medal, ‘Nobel of math’,” by Beatrice Christofaro, The Mercury News, August 2, 2018;

“German mathematician Peter Scholze wins ‘Nobel of mathematics’,” DW, August 2, 2018;

“Barzani commends Kurdish winner of highest honor in mathematics,” by Kosar Nawzad, Kurdistan 24, August 2, 2018;

“Perth man awarded ‘Nobel Prize for mathematics’,” 9 News Sydney, August 2, 2018;

“Prestigious Mathematics Medal Stolen Minutes After It Was Awarded,” by Sasha Ingber, NPR, August 2, 2018;

“Akshay Venkatesh: What the genius mathematician did to become a Field Medal winner,” Financial Express, August 3, 2018;

“Indian Australian Mathematician Wins Fields Medal, the “Nobel of Mathematics”,”The Indian Panorama, August 2, 2018;

“Mathematician Akshay Venkatesh: Jack of all fields, master of one,” by Devangshu Datta, Business Standard, August 3, 2018;

“Akshay Venkatesh | The journey of Indian-born Australian prodigy to Fields Medal,” The Statesman, August 6, 2018;

“A Former Refugee Won The ‘Nobel Prize’ of Mathematics – And It Was Stolen Minutes Later,” by Jacinta Bowler, Science Alert, August 6, 2018;

“‘Manipulating Numbers Makes Me Feel Happy’, Says Stanford’s Akshay Venkatesh Upon Winning Fields Medal, Mathematics Highest Honor,” India West, August 6, 2018;

“Aussie Fields Medalist speaks,” Cosmos Magazine, August 7, 2018

Featured image of this post has adapted from Facebook page of ICM 2018