||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (December 2013)|
Hart while attending Stony Brook University, sitting on top of one of her projects
|Known for||Mathematical/musical YouTube videos|
Victoria Hart, commonly known as Vi Hart, is a self-described "Recreational Mathemusician" who is most known for her mathematical videos on YouTube. Hart has collaborated with MIT computer science professor Erik Demaine. In 2013 she was employed by Khan Academy and later SAP.
Early life and influence
Hart is the daughter of mathematical sculptor George W. Hart and Carol Hart. She credits her largest influence to a trip she took with her father when she was 13. She attended a computational geometry conference with him, and claims she was hooked on math from that point on. In an interview, she stated that "It was so different from school, where you are surrounded by this drudgery and no one is excited about it. Any gathering of passionate people is fun, really no matter what they’re doing." In an interview taken when she was attending college, she stated that "My love of geometry and mathematics is definitely my father’s influence. Ever since I tagged along with him to my first conference, I enjoyed myself so much that I look for opportunities to go to fun conferences ever since."
College and career searching
Hart attended college at Stony Brook University. After finishing her music degree as a senior, she created a musical piece which she called the "Harry Potter Septet". The piece is in seven movements, one for each book, and was originally composed for violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, and two voices. Hart spent roughly 14 months creating the piece, which is around 1.5 hours long.
Shortly after graduating from Stony Brook, Hart found difficulty in finding a full-time profession. As a senior, when asked about her future plans, she stated that "I’ve considered film scoring. Musical theater. Maybe I will go to graduate school. …I haven’t quite decided yet. I do want to compose. Where I want to go with that I’m not sure. Because it’s difficult to just compose and magically receive money for it." Hart continued down this road for a few years.
For a while, Hart was not able to find a suitable career for herself. One day, she was looking over some "mathematical doodles" that she had made during college (she notes that she made many of them while bored in her various classes in college) and decided that she should make something out of it. At first she considered simply writing out instructions and posting them on her blog, but she decided to take a different turn, and instead made her very first "Doodling in Math Class" video. With a second-person point of view and a fast-paced narration by Hart herself, the video series grew very popular, garnering millions of views in a short amount of time. Since then, Hart has continued her YouTube channel, and has received overwhelming support for it. Hart claims she made as much as $300 in one week from YouTube's partnership program.
A short time into her YouTube career, Hart decided to come up with a satirical name for her "unique" profession of displaying mathematics through the mind of a creative and musically talented mathematician. She decided to call herself a "Full-Time Recreational Mathemusician." When asked about her reasoning behind such a name, she explained "I call myself that because, sometimes, when you're not sure how to describe yourself in a title that describes what you do, you have to make one up."
On January 23, 2012, Hart created a secondary YouTube channel, which she named "VihartVihart." This channel contains supplements to her main channel videos, as well as personal videos.
On July 6, 2012, Hart created a behind the scenes video in collaboration with Ethan Bresnick that shows how she makes her videos.
On October 1, 2012 she uploaded "Hexaflexagons", the first in a series of four videos celebrating the subject and exploring the mathematics, aesthetics, and history of hexaflexagons. The video has been viewed over five million times.
Since the creation of her YouTube channel, Hart has received national recognition. As of November 2013, Hart has over 44 million video views on her primary YouTube channel, as well as over 650,000 subscribers. Currently, her most viewed video is "Hexaflexagons," with over 5 million views. Hart has over 34,000 fans on her Facebook page, while on Twitter she has over 32,000 followers. She has been featured in several online news articles by publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. In August 2011, Hart gave a lecture at International Science Day.
On January 3, 2012, Hart announced that she had recently started working at Khan Academy. She credits the establishment with paying her to "sit in a cubicle all day and make random doodles." Hart is now featured in various videos on Khan Academy's YouTube account, but continues producing videos for her own channel.
- Chang, Kenneth (January 17, 2011), "Bending and Stretching Classroom Lessons to Make Math Inspire", New York Times.
- Bell, Melissa (December 17, 2010), "Making math magic: Vi Hart doodles her lessons", Washington Post.
- Krulwich, Robert (December 16, 2010), I Hate Math! (Not After This, You Won't), National Public Radio.
- Stony Brook University Reseacher of the Month, Stony Brook University Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.
- Hart, Vi. "Hexaflexagons".
- Hart, Vi. "Vi Hart and Khan Academy Join Forces!".