Noted Mathemagician Art Benjamin to Visit IUP as Inaugural Serafini Lecturer

Posted on 10/9/2018 4:12:17 PM

Arthur Benjamin, the Smallwood Family Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a magician, will share his “mathemagic” with the IUP community on October 18 and 19. All of his presentations are free and open to the community.

Benjamin is the inaugural Serafini Lecturer at IUP.

Terry Serafini, a 1961 secondary mathematics education graduate, provided the funds for a biennial lecture series to be sponsored by the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Department.

After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, Serafini began his business career in 1964 as a computer systems marketing representative for the IBM Corporation. Six years later, he became a partner and co-owner of Computerpeople, Inc. During his 27 years of association, Computerpeople grew to employ more than 1,300 computer professionals. Serafini also co-founded Compucom, Inc., a digital imaging and microfilm solutions company located in Pittsburgh.

“The visiting mathematician program highlights just a portion of Terry’s second million-dollar gift to the university,” Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, vice president for the IUP Division of University Advancement, said.

“His passion for IUP, partnered with his philanthropy, inspire and motivate students and faculty across campus. He has been instrumental in fostering a culture of philanthropy by challenging our students, university family, and his fellow donors. Now that we are in the public phase of our comprehensive campaign, Imagine Unlimited, we need to be the university that expects students to dream big, push boundaries, and think across disciplines. IUP is ready to rise to new heights, and with the support of people like Terry, there is unlimited potential.”

Benjamin will present two programs on October 18: “The Mathematics of BINGO,” in room 229 Stright Hall at 3:30 p.m. and his “Mathemagician Act” in Beard Auditorium, Stouffer Hall, at 7:00 p.m.

On October 19 at 2:30 p.m. in 229 Stright Hall, he will conduct a workshop on the “Mathematics of Magic,” where the audience will learn card ticks and the mathematics behind why they work. All of his programs are appropriate for all ages.

In his “Mathemagics” show, Benjamin demonstrates and explains his secrets for performing rapid mental calculations faster than a calculator.

He has given three TED Talks and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, the Colbert Report, and National Public Radio. He has also been profiled in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Scientific American, Discover, Omni, Esquire, Wired, People Magazine, and Reader's Digest. Benjamin is also an active researcher in mathematics, with more than 80 papers on combinatorics and mathematical games. Details about the variety of Arthur Benjamin’s accomplishments and links to his TED talks can be found on his website.