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Matthew Parker (born December 22, 1980) is an Australian stand-up comedian, author, YouTube personality and maths communicator. Parker is the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. He is a former maths teacher, and lives in Godalming, UK.
Early life and education
Parker went to the University of Western Australia and started off studying mechanical engineering before he "realized the very real risk of being employable at the end of it." He switched into physics and later mathematics. His love of maths led him to want a job in maths.
After college, Parker taught maths in Australia for a while before moving to London and continuing teaching. He later became involved in support education, working with universities and other organizations to arrange maths talks. He later went back to teaching before stopping after one year. He now helps students communicate mathematics to other people, speaks at schools, does media work, and occasionally writes about math. His goal is "to get more people more excited about maths."
Parker has appeared in numerous YouTube videos, talking about various subjects related to mathematics. While he does have his own YouTube channel ("StandUpMaths"), Parker also appears on bigger channels such as Brady Haran's Numberphile and James May's "BritLab|Head Squeeze" (now BritLab).
Parker has toured the UK both solo and as part of comedy group Festival of the Spoken Nerd, along with Helen Arney and Steve Mould. His first solo tour Matt Parker: Number Ninja finished in July 2013, while his second solo tour “Matt Parker: Now in 4D” started in late 2014.
Parker is a regular on BBC Radio Four's Infinite Monkey Cage with Robin Ince and Brian Cox. He has also talked about maths-related topics on BBC News, Sky News, Channel4, CBBC, and occasionally writes for The Guardian. On TV, he is a commentator on nearly every episode of You Have Been Warned (Outrageous Acts of Science).
Recreational mathematics contributions
Parker introduced the recreational mathematics concept of a grafting number, an integer with the property that the square root of the integer, when expressed in base b, will contain the original integer itself before or directly after the decimal point (sequence A232087 in the OEIS).
Parker attempted to create a 3x3 magic square using square numbers. His failed attempt shown below is called the Parker Square, which became a "mascot for people who give it a go but ultimately fall short".
At the 2016 MathsJam Conference, Parker talked about what he called "letterwise magic squares". He believed he was the first to find the magic squares but on 5 May 2017 he posted a video to explain how the magic squares were more well known as alphamagic squares.
- London Mathematical Society (2014-04-24), LMS Popular Lecture Series 2010, Clutching at Random Straws, Matt Parker, retrieved 2016-10-30
- Numberphile (2015-06-29), Why 1980 was a great year to be born... but 2184 will be better, retrieved 2016-10-30
- standupmaths (2016-01-18), Australian Bank Notes are the Best in the World, retrieved 2016-10-30
- Talks at Google (2014-12-02), Matt Parker: "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension" | Talks at Google, retrieved 2016-10-30
- "Videos about Numbers and Stuff". Numberphile.com. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- Simon Usborne (2014-10-30). ""Stand-up mathematician" Matt Parker is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- Steckles, Katie (2013-04-30). "Matt Parker: Number Ninja". The Aperiodical. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- "Matt Parker". Lakinmccarthy.com. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- Parker, Matt. "Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension | Books | Janklow & Nesbit". Janklowandnesbit.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension (Book Review) - Scientific American Blog Network". Blogs.scientificamerican.com. 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- "Matt Parker". The Guardian. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- Numberphile (2012-01-20), 98 and Grafting Numbers - Numberphile, retrieved 2017-05-15
- Parker, Matt (2014-12-02). Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension: A Mathematician's Journey Through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374710378.
- Tanniru, R (2015). "A short note introducing Grafting Numbers and their connection to Catalan Numbers". J. Comb. Math. and Comb. Computing. 95: 309–312.
- Numberphile (2016-04-18), The Parker Square - Numberphile, retrieved 2016-10-30
- Haran, Brady. "The Parker Square". Brady Haran Blog. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
The Parker Square is a mascot for people who give it a go but ultimately fall short.
- Matt Parker. "MathsJam 2016: Letterwise Magic Squares". YouTube. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Matt Parker. "Alphamagic vs Letterwise Magic Squares". YouTube. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Parker, Matt. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension. Penguin UK, 2014, p. PT6.
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