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MasterClass Announces Class on Mathematical Thinking

MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, announced its first math class with the MacArthur Fellow and Fields Medal–winning mathematician Terence Tao. Rather than teaching complex equations and formulas, Tao will teach MasterClass members how to think of situations mathematically in order to simplify and solve day-to-day challenges. He’ll help members deconstruct those challenges, use storytelling as a tool and discover solutions, whether they are trying to level up in a computer game, hang a curtain rod or win at tic-tac-toe. Tao’s class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 150+ instructors with an annual membership.

“As a MacArthur ‘genius’ recipient and Field Medal winner, it’s no surprise that Terence is referred to by many as ‘The Mozart of Math,'” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In his class, Terence teaches why we use math in the first place—to strategically problem solve complex questions and issues. His class will explore how to do exactly that through the lens of mathematical thinking, diving into why it matters and demonstrating better approaches to doing it.”

Using personal stories that helped him develop his philosophy, and demonstrations on how to apply it, Tao will teach students his mathematical approach of selecting challenges and breaking them down into smaller, more tangible ones, using storytelling as a tool for solving problems and embracing failure as a means of new discovery. Tao shows members how they can apply math in everyday situations, such as wine measuring, and offers suggestions for enjoying the process of learning. He explains how to ask questions to get to the next step of the problem, learn through patterns and reframe ways of thinking to reach a solution. He also shares humble moments of personal “math fails” to teach members that roadblocks can lead to breakthroughs. Tao’s class will inspire members to think of mathematical problem-solving as a practice that can be accessed by anyone and used in numerous ways in work and life.

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“People think of math as this very specialized, arcane subject–almost like sorcery or wizardry that most people aren’t even allowed to use,” Tao said. “In my class, I want to show members practical ways they can embrace mathematical thinking and see how it can be useful—and fun—in the real world.”

Terence Chi-Shen Tao is an Australian American mathematician and a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he holds the James and Carol Collins chair. By age 9, Tao was enrolled in college-level math, and by 20, he completed his Ph.D. at Princeton University. A child prodigy, Tao is one of only two children in the history of the Study of Exceptional Talent program at Johns Hopkins University to have achieved a score of 700 or greater on the SAT math section while just 8 years old; he scored a 760. Tao was a recipient of the 2006 Fields Medal and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. He is also a 2006 MacArthur Fellow. His research includes topics in harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, probability theory, compressed sensing and analytic number theory. Tao has been the author or coauthor of more than 300 research papers, and has been featured on CNN and in The New York TimesUSA Today and Popular Science, among many other publications. In September 2021, Tao was announced as a member of President Joe Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, joining a group of America’s most distinguished leaders in science and technology.

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