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I have a podcast series (http://wildaboutmath.com/category/podcast/ and on Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sol-ledermans-podcast/id588254197) where I interview people who have a passion for math and who have inspired others to take an interest in the subject.

I've interviewed Alfred Posamentier, Keith Devlin, Ed Burger, James Tanton, and other math popularizers I know. I'm trying to get an interview set up with Ian Stewart and I'll see if I can do interviews with Steven Strogatz and Cliff Pickover in 2013.

Who do you know, famous or not, who I should try to get for my series? These people don't need to be authors. They can be game designers, teachers, toy makers, bloggers or anyone who has made a big contribution to helping kids or adults enjoy math more.

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    $\begingroup$ There are many! I would suggest Ravi Vakil (Stanford). $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AndréNicolas Great. I hadn't heard of Ravi but he looks like he fits the bill. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ Do they have to be living in the US? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 5:17
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelAlbanese Nope. They don't need to be in the US. Ian Stewart is in the UK. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 5:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Sol: Please read Create Wiki Posts. If you need help in making this post CW, please flag a moderator. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 10:27

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Well, there's Vi Hart. Basically a bunch of youtube videos that show you just enough math to get you interested.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yup. She's on my list. And her dad, George Hart, who was instrumental in making the Museum of Mathematics happen. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 13:59
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John Horton Conway - Most Famous for the Game of Life, but also a contributor to recreational mathematics in general. As well as being a coauthor of the ATLAS of finite groups.

Roger Penrose - Mathematical Physicist and creator of Penrose Tiles a way of tiling the plane only non-periodically. His book The Emperor's New Mind is a well recommended layman's discussion of Computability and Artificial Intelligence.

Raymond Smullyan - Has created many books on recreational logic including To Mock a Mockingbird.

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    $\begingroup$ It might be nice to explain why as well. $\endgroup$
    – user50407
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the suggestions. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 23:38
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I haven't heard him, but I get the impression Terry Tao would be good.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I agree. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ BTW I'm pleased your edit was not approved: I do know who Terry is; I just haven't heard him speak. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ He is a good speaker. I have heard him talk a couple of times at UCLA. I would imagine that would mean he would give a good interview. Besides, he and I had the same graduate advisor :-) $\endgroup$
    – robjohn
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkHurd My attempted edit was a mistake. I thought I was trying to fix a typo in my own post. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 18:31
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I recommend Art Benjamin. He's a dynamic speaker, has given lots of math talks to general audiences (mostly on tricks for doing quick mental math calculations, I think), and is an expert on combinatorial proof techniques (e.g. he's coauthor of Proofs That Really Count). Benjamin is a math professor at Harvey Mudd College.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Art Benjamin would be great. I've blogged about his mathemagician feats. Thanks for the reminder. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 5:04
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Paul Nahin, Julian Havil and John Derbyshire have written very enjoyable popular math books. Marcus de Sautoy is also a writer and has hosted his own podcast, "A Brief History of Mathematics". And of course, Douglas Hofstadter has the rare honor of writing bestsellers on logic and math.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nihan is one of my favorite authors as is du Sautoy. Ah, yes, Hofstadter of Goedel Escher Bach would be great. I wonder if I could get Don Knuth to be interviewed. I took a computer science class from him some 30 years ago. The others I'll need to look up. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 14:06
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A couple that immediately come to mind are John Allen Paulos and Reuben Hersh. I suggest perusing the publication section of the Mathematical Association of America's website for more candidates.

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  • $\begingroup$ Awesome suggestions. Hersh is a name I hadn't heard of. And, thanks for the idea of searching the MAA website. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 5:14
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Ian Stewart, Barry Cipra, William Dunham...

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Stewart is on my list. Don't know the other two. Will have to look them up. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Sol Barry Cipra $\endgroup$
    – bof
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 6:44
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You can try Edward Frenkel. Here is his homepage http://math.berkeley.edu/~frenkel/. He has directed and acted in a small movie called rites of love and math. He has also written a book called Love and math (yet to be published).

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent. I'll check him out. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 12:47
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I would also recommend John Baez know for his This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics and the Azimuth project. Also Leonard Susskind, author of The Theoretical Minimum and the series of youtube lectures it is based on. Perhaps not entirely for general audience would be Shlomo Sternberg, author of some extremely readable serious math texts.

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I was inspired by Alex Bellos's book Adventures In Numberland.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Bellos is great. Good reminder. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 14:08
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I found Christos Papadimitriou to be quite an entertaining speaker and quite good at explaining concepts without technicality. He's a theoretical computer scientist, but has a quite broad knowledge of mathematics too and quite keen on maths popularisation, history and philosophy.

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Timothy Gowers wrote the general audience book Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction and edited the wonderful The Princeton Companion to Mathematics, that covers both rather basic and rather advanced mathematics. Gowers also has a blog.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good reminder. Thank you! I have the Princeton Companion. It is an outstanding book. $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 15:05
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I would recommend Dr. Mariusz Wodzicki from the University of California at Berkeley. He is EXTREMELY passionate about mathematics (which is very evident in his lectures to those who have attended), is an active researcher, and loves to hype up his students on the subject. His enthusiasm is highly infectious, and practically everything that comes out of his mouth is either mathematical wisdom or some kind of profound life advice.

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  • $\begingroup$ I second this statement. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 6:12

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