Mathematics is one of the oldest human endeavors and has components that span from the practical to the aesthetic. Mathematics lies at the foundation of scientific endeavor, and has been crucial in the development and fast paced advancement of technology. Despite its arcane language of symbols, the power and beauty of mathematics reveals itself in many forms. The course will consider the expression of mathematics in the abstract and the every day, through the exploration of numbers, paradoxes, dimension, coincidences, mathematics in the arts, games, cryptography, magic and juggling. 

Instructor: Larry Goldstein, larry at usc dot edu, KAP 406D, 213 740 2405. Office Hours: TBA

Lecture: VKC 157, MW 2:00-3:20, 35483D


  • Diaconis and Graham: Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks
  • Gamow: One, two, three, infinity (Chapters 1 and 2)
  • Abbott: Flatland, a romance of many dimensions
  • Mlodinow: The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
  • Freedman, Pisani, Purves: Statistics

Exams and Grading Policy

Grading Policy

  • 15% Course Participation
  • 30% Homework and in class assignments
  • 25% Midterm exam, Monday Feb 27th
  • 30% Final Project: each student will pick a topic to develop, prepare a writeup and make a class presentation.

Important Dates and Information

  • September 11th, last day to register and add, or to drop without mark of W
  • November 13th, last fday to drop a class with mark of W
  • December 4th, classes end

Full registration calendar
Statement of Academic Conduct