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A layman’s guide to recreational mathematics videos (samenright.com)
322 points by MajesticFrogBoy 47 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

Eddie Woo has good high school content


Would have loved to have him as math teacher

I'd just add that while he's a high-school teacher, much of the content would be equally applicable to undergrads or to anyone wanting to brush up on subjects like calculus and trigonometry.

You’re not wrong.

Came here to post this. Eddie Woo is fantastic math channel.

Was disappointed to see the lack of ViHart, but other than that, fantastic list!


URL for reference: https://www.youtube.com/user/vihart

Vi seems to have mostly-retired from YouTube, alas, but her excellent back catalogue is still with us.

"Infinite Series" is officially discontinued and still made the list. Vi still occasionally posts something.

Thank you so much! Had never heard of her, and now I'm in love!

I don’t know if the list has been updated since you posted but Vihart is listed.

Jan Misali is incredible, and 'There are 48 Regular Polyhedra' is an absolute fever dream. The idea of a conlang channel making this fantastically in depth video, complete with animation and weird monotone musical transitions, is just so funny to me.

That was lovely, thank you!

I hated math growing up.. I thought I was stupid and just didn't not get what was taught to me.. I went into the liberal arts.. now I am dev and I love math now.. I am trying to learn so much. I struggled with basic algebra my whole life.. but the older I get the more I love math. Thank you!! Just reading this and follow someone videos my understanding is so much better thank you.

Channel of Robert Ghrist is very overlooked one: https://www.youtube.com/c/ProfGhristMath. He does whole courses with awesome animations. He also has single variable calculus course on Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/discrete-calculus.

Maybe I'm so far behind on my maths education (stopped at 18 after UK A Level) but I found a lot of 3Blue1Brown's videos hard to understand. It's possible that he has prerequisites I never watched. YouTube is bad at discovery.

A lot of math videos aren't meant to be understood on first watch. If you're really trying to learn, you'll need to pause and think about what he's saying and really internalize it. Take it at your own pace. And also rewatch the video to see if there's any insights you missed on your first watch.

So don't be discouraged if you need to pause often or take a long time to finish the video. The rewards are worth it.

If it helps, I’m currently studying maths at university, and I’ve never found them very helpful for my understanding personally. Grant uses a lot of geometric/visual analogy and intuition which just isn’t how I think about problems. I think his videos are great, but they’re not for me.

I agree about these videos not always being designed to get you to a complete understanding just by watching through the series.

For example, the 3b1b linear algebra series is great but I couldn't have used it to become proficient at _doing_ linear algebra. Even having taken a linear algebra class, I got more out of that series as a supplement to actually working out math problems on paper than as a primary source—and I definitely think that's what's intended.

I think Nancy Pi deserves a spot on the solver list? Her channel has some of the best videos in that category for beginners.

Seconded. I needed a refresher on the derivation and the chain rule a while ago, and her content was perfect.

NancyPi channel here:


Any suggestions for YouTube channel for videos on maths for kids..

+1 I’m keen on finding engaging maths content for my 8yo.

(German speaking readers)

Edmund Weitz's youtube channel is also great!

Check his christmas videos for example: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTfChr0yyz4iZq0x12Q6xA/vid...

Thanks for the tip, do you have any more German recommendations?

Welch labs has an amazing series on complex numbers called “imaginary numbers are real”.

Great explanations, engaging content and high production value. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T647CGsuOVU

I find Insights into Mathematics (https://youtube.com/c/njwildberger) interesting and thought provoking. Even though many subjects are well beyond me, I appreciate the way subjects are dissected and explained. Note though, AFAIU the channel mainly deals with pure mathematics, not always relevant for applied mathematics.

Just a caveat: Wildberger subscribes to a strict, non-mainstream view that rejects the existence of infinite objects. His exposition is fantastic, and as you say the content is definitely thought provoking if you have enough mathematical sophistication to (at least superficially) understand what he's about, but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who hasn't taken a traditional real analysis course.

Yes, should have mentioned that. It’s not always clear, even though he rarely fails to mention it :)

Thanks for clarifying.

Great list! I'd just add one complementary platform to the fun. brilliant.org, the way they approach math puzzles is stimulating and has been great to enhance understanding. You need to subscribe, but if you actually use it I think it is priceless.

Note: this is my personal recommendation, I don't benefit from promoting brilliant, just thought others might share a similar learning style.

If you watch any of these you'd find it hard to have not heard of them :-p

"the infamous Numberphile claim that the sum of all natural numbers is -1/12"

Number file definitely cannot be credited with that. I thought it dated back to Euler though I now find that is doubted - origin seems uncertain. It is so fantastically counter intuitive it certainly belongs in recreational mathematics. And that it is used in physics makes it a thing.

wasn’t that stated by Ramanujam?

Richard Borcherds, a Fields medalist, has been putting out great math content on YouTube for the past year and a half (https://youtube.com/channel/UCIyDqfi_cbkp-RU20aBF-MQ). He even has lecture courses on a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes.

his sense of humor is impeccable, too

Maybe nice to mention that Matt Parker's Stand-up Maths video on the cheating on a MiceCraft speed-run is really very nice [0]. It not only exposes the cheater, it also gives some intuition into negligible probabilities.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ko3TdPy0TU

Cheater? The evidence is inconclusive.

Watch the movie, it's like non-cheater:cheater = 1:10^23 iirc.

Meanwhile the guy is making millions from the views, boosted by the controversy.

I would add to the list two more channels that were recommended by 3Blue1Brown:

- Welch labs https://youtube.com/c/WelchLabsVideo

- Think twice https://youtube.com/c/ThinkTwiceLtu

If we're talking about Fun maths, there's a couple of really good channels that look at Olympiad problems.

- vEnhance (https://www.youtube.com/c/vEnhance), an MIT student and IMO Gold Medalist who solved problems live on stream (and plays various games)

- Osman Nal (https://www.youtube.com/c/OsmanNal), looking at problems ranging from AMC/AIME to IMO 3/6s

- Michael Greenberg (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3mhbGC7kQgzkXT9fceNOwA), a geometry enthusiast who also live solves problems, though the production quality isn't amazing

And of course, Michael Penn (but that's in the post above)!

Henry Segerman has some mind-bending videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4zzTEL5tuIgGMvzjk1Ozbg

I'm also a big fan of Freya Holmér. She's the author of one of my favorite VR games, Budget Cuts, and her Youtube channel has videos on game development math and shaders


Her latest video is on Bézier Curves, using beautiful imagery from her Unity plugin Shapes:


I'm surprised Socratica didn't merit a mention.


This one is very strange, at least the abstract algebra videos (the only one I glanced at): It’s a hired actress with no apparent math background reading a script she’s never seen before, but the script is the shortened summary of a very dry abstract algebra textbook. I don’t really see the point vs. just reading the book yourself.

Their "about" page has testimonials from the "Great Thinkers" Isaac Newton, Hermione Granger, and The Sun.

> It’s a hired actress

Maybe that's it? Learning Maths from a conventionally attractive person has got to have an effect on how much you learn.

I wonder if this is something that's been researched before?

Can anyone explain 196884=196883+1 That Moonshine equation. A layperson's explanation if possible? Thanks in advance.

Mathologer has the greatest collection of Math/Nerd-T-Shirts out there!

Check any of his videos :) https://www.youtube.com/c/Mathologer/videos

Tibees has a very approachable explainer on the maths found on ancient Babylonian clay tablets: https://youtu.be/rRDYP95lhjc

There are several good recommendations, I think Michael Penn's channel is really nice, I enjoy the no nonsense blackboard approach to math.

Has anyone found similar good-quality mathematics videos for young (elementary school age) kids?

can someone suggest good videos about information theory?

I'm a big fan of this video from Reducible on Huffman codes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3y0RsVCyrw, and from 3Blue1Brown on Hamming codes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8jsijhllIA

Thanks. To be more specific, i'm interested in learning Shannon's information theory from scratch. So far I know just the definition of entropy.

Shannon's book, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, is approachable with the mathematical background of first-year college calculus. I don't think it requires any more math than is essential to understand the topic.

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