About

I like math, humor, and teaching. I can’t draw. That much you could probably guess.

This blog is about the things I like. It’s also about the things I can’t do. I hope that the juxtaposition here – carefully edited writing alongside art that my wife (charitably) likens to “the average 6th grader” – captures the contradictory state of the teacher, of the mathematician – and, what the hell, of the human. We are all simultaneously experts and beginners, flaunting our talents while trying to cover our shortcomings the way an animal hides a wound. You could call this a “math blog,” or a “teaching blog,” but I would call it a blog about owning up to weakness and drawing strength from successes, however transient or trivial they may seem.

Other facts: I’m a math maths teacher in Birmingham, England. Before that, I taught in Oakland, California. I’ve taught every level of mathematics from ages 12 to 18. I’ve also taught Psychology, Biology, English, Theory of Knowledge, and even (in a dubious feat of strange scheduling) Earth Science.

To email me, just use my name (Ben Orlin, by the way) at gmail. Or follow me on Twitter (#mathwithbadhashtags). I love to hear from readers, whether you stumbled here accidentally or are my college roommate Michael Wayne. (Hey, Michael Wayne!)

While we’re at it, here’s some of my stuff as it’s appeared at other web sites and publications:

And here are interviews with me, in case you want to hear people ask the tough questions like “what’s wrong with your drawings” and “why Ben why”:

  • WordPress Discover (wherein the gracious Ben Huberman somehow manages to suggest that I have an “acumen” of any kind)
  • Math Frolic (wherein the wonderful Shecky calls me “Math Blogging’s Bill Watterson” – a horrible slander against the great Bill Watterson)
  • Challenging Opinions Podcast (wherein the eminently fair William Campbell proposes that maybe I hire four-year-olds to do my drawings for me)

106 thoughts on “About

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  4. I just stumbled across your blog by accident, as I had an idea of annotating bite size science with bad drawings (as I can’t draw!). And I googled “bad drawings” to see what kind of bad drawings are out there and how I will fair! I love your drawings and your humour! This is an excellent blog.

  5. Pingback: Why Do We Pay Pure Mathematicians? – Ben Orlin – mathematics matters…

  6. Wish your blog was around when I was in High school! But found it just in time to share with my son! Thank you!!

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  8. Ben Orlin, you are a wonderful, wonderful teacher, and a brilliant science communicator. I’m a theoretical physics grad student, so I’m fairly comfortable and familiar with the math you discuss, but your perspective and grace on these topics is nevertheless invaluable.

    I hope to be standing in front of a classroom myself in a few years, and any time I’m stuck on how to do something, I’m gonna go, “What would Ben Orlin do?”

    This sounds like fanboy gushing, and it is, but I just really love this blog.

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