Computer Science

Earth Science







Social Science




Sign-up for FTK Bulletin



ATLANTA, GA (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- What do you think of when you think of mathematics? Numbers? Equations? How about magic? It turns out that the basic principals of mathematics can make for some pretty impressive card tricks, where the hand and the math is quicker than the eye.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

Spelman college professor Colm Mulcahy isn’t just a mathematician he's also a mathemagician. A little simple addition and he’ll tell you what your cards were.

Magic? Sure, but here’s the math: the cards in his deck one, two, three, five, eight and 13 for the king make up something called the fibonacci sequence. Each number is the sum of the two previous numbers

"What’s magic about them is if you add any two of them and tell somebody what the total is they know what the two numbers must have been." Dr. Mulcahy told Ivanhoe.

--The magic is all in the math.

"Yeah, it’s definitely amazing!" Student Janiene Thiong said.

"People think sometimes that math merely has applications to engineering or rocket science or whatever, but it also has entertainment value" Dr. Mulcahy explained.

--It’s totally mathemagic!

"Yes, this is living proof that math is literally everywhere." Student Cheyanne Goings said.

Dr. Mulcahy says he uses mathemagic often in the math classes he teaches, and he’s always on the lookout for new applications of math ideas that he can turn into card tricks.

The American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Colm Mulcahy
Spelman College

Mike Breen and Annette Emerson
American Mathematical Society
Providence, RI 02904-2294
(800) 321-4267

Ivars Peterson
Mathematical Association of America,
Washington, DC 20036-1358
(800) 741-9415

This Month's TV Reports
Patching-Up Wounded Puppies

Vets are fixing Fido without surgery! Considering that Americans will spend $47 billion on their pets, rehab is becoming a money-saving and life-saving therapy for thousands of dogs.


Cooling Babies—Saving Brains

Four out of every 1000 babies born today will suffer brain damage. Now doctors are using a special blanket to help these babies reduce their chances of developing a lifetime of disabilities.


Waking Up Brains After Stroke

It strikes 800,000 people every year and is the leading cause of long-term disability in the US. Now, researchers are helping wake up damaged brains and help stroke survivors move again.


The Key to Saving Cyclists

Every nine minutes a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed on the road. Now a new device will help warn drivers and keep cyclists safe.


Submerged In Oil

The spill is stopped, but how much oil is left behind? We go under the sea in a sub to get a close-up look at what’s there


New Spin on Tornadoes

Hurricanes hitting the coast put lives at risk inland. New technology can warn people when tornadoes will strike hundreds of miles away from the storm.


Digging for Earthquakes

We dig deep into one of the most active earthquake zones in the world to find out when the next ‘big one’ will strike.


New Roofs Put Money in Your Pocket

New roofing technology will keep you covered and put more money in your pocket!


Smaller, Lighter, Faster Gadgets

From computers to cell phones … researchers are working on ways to make them better and more energy efficient.


3d Video Games Go Inside The Body

A new high-tech video game goes inside the human body, teaching kids science and having fun at the same time.


Animated Tutors-Making the Grade

The teacher is ‘in’ and ‘on’ the computer. Kids can now improve their language and social skills with an animated tutor.



In these tricks – the math is quicker than the eye. We introduce you to a mathematician who has a few tricks up his sleeve.


Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
  © 2010 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.