BenOrlin-37I love math and teaching, and I can’t draw. That much you could probably deduce from first principles.

Other (more elusive) facts: my name is Ben Orlin; I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my wife and daughter; I go by he/him; and I am very excited about my two books, Math with Bad Drawings (2018) and Change is the Only Constant (2019).

I have taught every level of mathematics from ages 12 to 18, with occasional spells teaching Psychology, Biology, English, Theory of Knowledge, and even Earth Science (the latter to no one’s benefit, least of all the Earth’s). And I’ve spoken all across the U.S.

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

Here’s some coverage of CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT:

Here’s some coverage of MATH WITH BAD DRAWINGS:

Here’s some of my stuff as it’s appeared at other web sites and publications:

And here are other 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”:

177 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: com5430
  2. 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.

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

  4. I’m so glad I stumbled here…this is why I love Mathematics. Now I have good come backs for my friends.

  5. 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.

  6. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” (Author??)

    I believe this. Your humor, excellent writing, and unique perspective continue to open my mind, challenge me to draw connections between ideas, and inspire me to be a more gracious teacher. THANKS!

  7. Very interesting pieces. The LA Times piece hits home as I have a ‘Senior’ getting ready to apply for university. The Memorization vs. Learning piece is an issue that I have long contemplated and at times railed against….since I’m raising two teenagers here in the UK (who have done the entirety of their education in England, though we’re also American)….and one has a great memory and the other does not. Great food for thought. Thank you!

  8. Hello, Ben

    We’re contacting you to introduce WordPress app for mac which is called WeBlog. We’ve been making it since 1.3years ago and now it’s almost there. And we are trying to find good bloggers who could give us their voice and feedback. So we could make it better and give it back to bloggers.

    If you use mac and interested in the WeBlog then please consider join the Beta Program. Here is the relevant post.

    Thank you for reading this.
    Happy blogging!

    – Jusung

  9. Hi Ben –

    Can I use one of your probability images to link to your blog in my online Math course?

    Thank you!
    Barbie Pilla
    North Carolina Virtual Public School

  10. Man.
    You is fun.
    I like silly and smart.
    Cuz you can get it. Someone can get it. Come and get it.

    That’s all. Thanks. I like you’re attitood.
    Cuz (again) I can feel the kindness in it.

  11. Just started reading your blog and have been greatly impressed by the quality of the thought that has gone into the writing.
    WRT the memorization problem I find that there is no agreement on what the facts a student should know(e.g. 7×6=?) without having to stop and work them out or look them up every time they go to use them. Sine pi/2 isn’t the problem but 7×6 certainly is.
    The link to ‘Challenging Opinions Podcast’ gives a ‘404 Not Found’ error.

  12. I love your blog and (honestly) love your drawings, trust me, bad drawing is the opposite of this, if i tried to make a comic strip or anything my characters would NOT look the same in every frame, just sayin’ 🙂

  13. Hi,

    I came across your articles at https://mathwithbaddrawings.com and observed you’ve got useful and interesting information for your readers.

    I represent InfluencedApp marketing agency and wonder if you are interested in working with us.

    I would be grateful if you could send me your advertising rates for guest/sponsored posts and reviews with dofollow links.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Kind Regards,Diane

  14. Hello Ben Orlin,

    My Name is Iman and I am a Student of Educational Sciences at the University of Munich, Germany. I am taking part at a mini-research project; we are looking at communication in online communities, and especially at pauses in the online communication.

    I would be most pleased if you would agree to answer some questions.

    Kind regards,

  15. Hi…..I’ve recently started a web site, the info you provide on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.” by Edgar Watson Howe….

  16. Such a thing! Lively intelligence on the internet!
    While teaching human resources I try to use humour as well (sparingly, of course, as the topics can be psychologically difficult). Your artistic abilities have been fine-tuned over the years to the point where the illustrations are exactly what is needed. Evolution in action.
    Thank you!

    1. Hello! I lived in Rockridge and taught at Oakland Charter High School. There was no good bus line to Piedmont, so I only went there on occasion, but loved the neighborhood!

  17. May I have a moment of your time?

    I’m graduate student at the University of North Florida, writing a paper about Ralph Waldo Emerson quoting Leonhard Euler as saying “This will be found contrary to all experience, yet is true.”

    To be exact, in an essay called “Nature,” Emerson wrote the following sentence:

    “The sublime remark of Euler on his law of arches, ‘This will be found contrary to all experience, yet is true’; had already transferred nature into the mind, and left matter like an outcast corpse.”
    I’ve read quite a bit about Euler, but so far haven’t found a “law of arches” unless maybe it has another name. And did Euler really say, “This will be found contrary to all experience, yet it is true,” and if so, in what context? 

    I have searched the internet, multiple databases, journals, etc. and can find nothing about it. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. 

    Bill Ectric

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