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Math Monday: Math Candy

Craft & Design Science
Math Monday: Math Candy

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics


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.

See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

6 thoughts on “Math Monday: Math Candy

  1. P.O.W.E.R. ORG says:

    Definitely SWEEEET! Creative and appetizing… Thanks for sharing.

  2. jeffery MacEachern says:

    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.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance 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 to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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