Past Meetup

Math Chat: The Mathematical Method, Calculus & Probability

This Meetup is past

8 people went

Price: $2.00 /per person
Location image of event venue


This month's Math Chat is based on a 1¾ hour video of Keith Devlin which discusses the mathematical method, the Calculus, and the basics of probability theory. To round out the discussion, there are four supplemental videos adding 1 more hour. So a total of three (3) hours of video to stimulate our discussion. Watching videos is optional, but will enrich and enliven the discussion.

• The main 1¾ hour video with Keith Devlin ( frames the discussion about Calculus as a technology in the context of what Devlin calls the mathematical method. Do you accept Devlin's framing of the mathematical method? Is Calculus or any mathematics a technology? Does mathematics model the real world? Is math "unreasonably effective" in understanding the real world? The last 45 minutes in the video explore the origins of probability theory with a wonderful discussion of the correspondence between Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat which led to a revolution in our ability to predict the future based on probability. Was that the breakthrough that Devlin claims it was? Wasn't the work of Gerolamo Cardano critically important as well? Read my notes on Devlin's lecture (

• Gilbert Strang's exquisite 37 minute Big Picture of Calculus gives a much clearer and more comprehensive overview of the Calculus than does the Keith Devlin video. But maybe you prefer Devlin's approach? Regardless, we will discuss both videos.

• The exquisite 6m video Calculus Rhapsody By Phil Kirk & Mike Gospel puts some much needed fun into Calculus! The video is amazing and excellent: I hope you enjoy it.

• Brady Haran's interesting 6m video 1,296 and Yahtzee looks at the probabilities of rolling five cubical dice with the same number of pips on each face (a yahtzee).

• Vi Hart's 5m video response to Haran's video on Tetrahedral Dice does the same with die with four faces instead of six.


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