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.

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See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • http://twitter.com/POWERORGmath P.O.W.E.R. ORG

    Definitely SWEEEET! Creative and appetizing… Thanks for sharing.

  • http://ffejery.wordpress.com/ jeffery MacEachern

    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. :(

  • Mark Howell

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

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