Adventures in fantastic realms you can build inside your head

Welcome to Mathematical Enchantments (aka "Jim Propp's math blog") !

Blog posts (uploaded on the 17th of each month) are at my wordpress site,,

and links to all posts and to audio files (in .wav or .mp3 format) are for the time being available right here:

Two of these essays have appeared in the Princeton University Press series Best Writing on Mathematics. Specifically, essay #26, "Professor Engel's Marvelously Improbable Machines", was reprinted in Best Writing on Mathematics 2019, and essay #45, "Who Mourns the Tenth Heegner Number?", was reprinted in Best Writing on Mathematics 2020.

I also have a Twitter feed, under the name @JimPropp.

Other mathematical writings of mine for a general audience are: Chinook (a report on the 1994 Man-Machine World Checkers Championship); my review of "The Cat in Numberland"; and my review of "The Art of Mathematics: Coffee Time in Memphis". (See the bottom of my list of publications for information on where they were published.)

I did a half-hour radio interview in 2007, in which I talked about mathematical proof.

In 2012 and 2013, I gave two talks (or the same talk twice) called "Wild Beauty: Postcards from Mathematical Worlds". The first has better sound-quality, but the second has better slides.

Here's a video of a talk I gave at the University of Connecticut back in April of 2014. It covers many of the themes that I'll be treating in my blog.

In 2016, I gave two talks at the 11th Gathering for Gardner: The Programmable Galton Board: A Shameless Shill and Conway's Impact on the Theory of Random Tilings.

In April of 2017, I gave a talk at the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses ("BAHFest"), and won first prize for my talk on why the dinosaurs really went extinct (and what humankind needs to do to make sure that we don't meet the same fate). Hint: It's about gravity. I've also posted a Q-and-A I did after the event, telling the story of how I came to give the talk.

In 2018, I gave a talk at the 13th Gathering for Gardner: You Can't Count to Thirteen (in Base Two-and-Three).

The logo that appears at the top of the page was designed by me and implemented by Sandi Gubin. Want to know what it is and why I chose it? See essays 41 and 58.

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If you want to start a math blog of your own, check out my list of tips for blogging about math in WordPress.

- Jim Propp, Department of Mathematical Sciences, UMass Lowell