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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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Eli Sohl created a blog called Math Candy, which shows mathematical ideas in the form of candy. Here’s an illustration of how to approximate the area under a sine curve with a sequence of rectangles. This is what mathematicians call a Riemann sum approximation to an integral.

With two kinds of anything, e.g., 0s and 1s, or clear and red gummy bears, you can count in binary, i.e., base 2. Here’s a sweet way to count to twenty four.

If you’re now inspired to create your own mathematical candy illustrations, send us a picture or post a link below. And remember: the best part is taking it apart.

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. Definitely SWEEEET! Creative and appetizing… Thanks for sharing.

  2. This reminds me of the plan I had to “study” for my semiconductor device physics final using doughnuts and doughnut holes. Sadly I forgot to buy them in time. :(

  3. Mark Howell says:

    Here’s a small classwork assignment to go along with your candy and integration part.

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B19uUDdLirfIYWE4MDZjMDctZmI2Yi00YjYyLWFjYmMtYzBkN2YwYTdlN2Ex