Socratica has just started a new math series on Calculus.

Our first episode is an overview, called  What is Calculus :

This series stars our co-founder, Michael Lee Harrison.  Michael is a mathematician, who has a lot of valuable experience under his belt.  He got his BS in math at Caltech, and continued his studies at UC Berkeley and University of Washington . He holds an MS in math from UW and is ABD on his PhD…we’ll see if we can round up some more abbreviations for our next profile!

Michael taught math at the college level for several years, where he was a good-humoured and encouraging instructor.  He next went into finance, working as a “quant” (quantitative analyst).  He then worked at Google as a developer for five years before leaving to start Socratica.

You’ve seen Michael’s work on Socratica for years now, but this is the VERY FIRST TIME he has stepped in front of the camera.  More to come soon!


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Today is his birthday. He had only 20 of them.

French mathematician Evariste Galois was born on this day in 1811.

Evariste Galois (artist: Kim Parkhurst)

Evariste Galois (artist: Kim Parkhurst)

His life was full of promise…and turmoil.  He made major contributions to math while still a teenager, and his work was fundamental for several different fields of math including Galois Theory and Group Theory.

Although his teachers found his writing "incomprehensible."

Although his teachers found his writing “incomprehensible.”

Sadly, he died in a duel when he was only 20.

Hear about his brief impressive life in our Great Thinkers video series




A new video series: Great Thinkers

Euclid is associated with geometry (as in “Euclidean Geometry”), but he was also the author of the most successful math textbook of all time:  The Elements.  It has been in fairly continuous use (not counting the Dark Ages) to this day.  His book  – really a collection of 13 books – started with basic principles and taught not only geometry, but the whole of mathematics as known by the ancient Greeks.  We don’t know exactly when he was born or died, or what he really looked like (despite this fetching statue in Oxford):

English: Statue of Euclid in the Oxford Univer...

English: Statue of Euclid in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do we know about this most influential fellow?  Here’s a video we made about him, the first in our “Great Thinkers” series.


Next up in the series is Galois, a French mathematician with such a tragic story, he really deserves his own opera.


Quiet on the Set!

Yesterday we filmed three new Abstract Algebra videos in English, a shoot that lasted about about 5 hours. (Don’t forget to subscribe so you can watch these videos when they come out!) We film in our own small green-screen studio we built, which is an incredible luxury – no worrying about booking time in someone else’s space, paying exorbitant rental fees, watching the clock in case we go over the allotted time – it gives us so much flexibility and piece of mind.

That is, until some neighborhood kids decide to start screaming outside at 10 PM (there’s no amount of soundproofing material that can stand up to that), or someone tries to hike up the Impossible-Waterfall-of-Death behind our house and needs a helicopter rescue.  I live next to a nature preserve, and when our actors come to visit, they all comment on how quiet it is – that is, until we start filming!


Los Angeles County Rescue Helicopter #5