In this series of posts, we’ll be featuring mathematical podcasts from all over the internet, by speaking to the creators of the podcast and asking them about what they do.
We spoke to Dr. Carol Jacoby, creator of The Art of Mathematics podcast, about her work.
What is your podcast about, and when/why did it start?
I started the podcast to dispel common notions about math and what mathematicians do. The first episode on 8/26/20 focused on dispelling the misconceptions of math. It’s not just a tool. To stress that fact, we don’t have episodes on applications. It’s more than just arithmetic. It’s not about memorizing formulas. It’s a living, creative endeavor with many intriguing questions and discoveries left to be made.
Who publishes your podcast? Tell us about yourself.
I’m a retired mathematician and I do the podcast by myself with invited guests. It’s hosted on Spotify and available on all of the major podcast platforms.
Who is the intended audience for the podcast?
The podcast focuses on a general audience seeking a broader understanding of the subject. High school math should be sufficient to understand most of the ideas discussed. When I think about my target audience, I remember myself in high school, curious but without a deep background.
What is a typical episode like, and how often are they released?
The episodes appear monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month. I will have a different guest each month to talk about a topic of their choice and I will comment and ask questions. I like to keep the episodes drive-time short, about 15-20 minutes.
Why should people listen? Why is it different to other mathematical podcasts?
You think math isn’t an art? It’s just numbers and formulas that need to be memorized? Join me for truth and beauty, music, art, infinity and intriguing questions. You don’t need a background in math. High school algebra at the most. We’ll converse, review books and do puzzles. We’ll talk about what mathematicians do and why, look at some mind-blowing results and deceptively simple concepts that open up all sorts of interesting questions. We welcome non-mathematicians and future mathematicians as well as any mathematicians who want to step back from their very specialized research and think about what they do and why.
What are some highlights of the podcast so far?
Some of my favorite episodes include “Everything you know about math is wrong” (the first episode); “Math as a way of thinking” with Ian Stewart, “The ten most important theorems in mathematics”, part 1 and part 2 (in the opinion of one mathematician), and “Math and the law” – with a lawyer seeing connections between math and law in their search for the truth.
What exciting plans do you have for the future?
I’m always looking for guests to talk about math. They don’t even need to be mathematicians.