That Makes It Invertible! (by The Three Directions)
March 14, 2013 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Three professors at Harvey Mudd College wanted to do something special to mark the final lecture of Math 40: Linear Algebra that their students could relate to. The result: they transformed themselves into The Three Directions and performed "That Makes It Invertible!" for their class, complete with choreography and bad math puns. (SLYT)
posted by zachlipton (27 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, that was fun! (And I'm not even good at math!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 2:12 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fantastic. Is there anything better than teachers that love what they do?
posted by jbickers at 2:25 PM on March 14, 2013


My math teacher wife thanks you... Personally, I had no idea what that was about...
posted by HuronBob at 2:33 PM on March 14, 2013


This is giving me flashbacks to my narrowly-accomplished completion of the required math classes there at HMC. In addition to requiring incoming students to have had calculus in high school, they make everyone take another four semesters of intense mathematics. I was gently mocked for being a biology major, which was sort of the Harvey Mudd equivalent of majoring in communications. So, to put some context to the video, those scary equations on the board at the beginning are part of a mandatory course that many students, including my past self, would have found pretty frightening.
posted by exogenous at 2:34 PM on March 14, 2013


Fantastic! Just what I've always discussed with others but never had the nerve to do.

(For the un-hip of us, what song is that a parody of?)
posted by benito.strauss at 2:42 PM on March 14, 2013


Obligatory Harcourt! Harcourt Fenton Mudd! link.
posted by neuron at 2:43 PM on March 14, 2013


I feel kinda bad for the kids reportedly taking an EE midterm next door (really, it's one big lecture hall separated by flimsy dividers.

Apparantly Prof. Benjamin helped write the parody - in some places he's better known as Art Benjamin, Mathemagician
posted by muddgirl at 2:43 PM on March 14, 2013


(For the un-hip of us, what song is that a parody of?)

This one.
posted by maudlin at 2:44 PM on March 14, 2013


Oh, wait, sorry: this one.
posted by maudlin at 2:47 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


and bad math puns.

There are good ones?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:51 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, Bio is a hum, exogenous.

Wow, I don't recognize that classroom AT ALL. Is it Galileo, muddgirl? I don't remember there being another big dividable hall, but that didn't -feel- like galileo. And the chairs are totally different. But I did graduate in 2001 after being personally responsible for turning Linde into the rave dorm so my memory might be suspect...
posted by flaterik at 2:54 PM on March 14, 2013


Yeah, those divided chalkboards are a dead giveaway.
posted by muddgirl at 2:59 PM on March 14, 2013


True. But there weren't any big ass screens hiding behind any of them before!
posted by flaterik at 3:01 PM on March 14, 2013


Maybe Linde was too far away to sneak in after-hours to watch movies on the big screens?
posted by muddgirl at 3:21 PM on March 14, 2013


(For the un-hip of us, what song is that a parody of?)

Joking aside, it's One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful.
posted by jcreigh at 3:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Harvey Mudd the pimpin' guy from Star Trek?

*googles*


Ahem, moving on. I like this.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:48 PM on March 14, 2013


Wasn't Harvey Mudd the pimpin' guy from Star Trek?


Nah, that was Harcourt "Harry" Mudd.


True. But there weren't any big ass screens hiding behind any of them before!

Well, the screens have been there since at least 2003.

posted by JiBB at 4:07 PM on March 14, 2013


and because I really like to brag about this and there are mudders here: I am 99% sure that "don't be a jackass" wasn't the unofficial code of conduct until I ad-libbed it during orientation in 1998 or 99 and it seemed like the perfect answer to everything so I kept repeating it
posted by flaterik at 4:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I <3 linear algebra. It gets more useful every year.
posted by humanfont at 4:48 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Three professors at Harvey Mudd College wanted to do something special to mark the final lecture of Math 40: Linear Algebra that their students could relate to.

Why won't they be able to relate to the subsequent ones?
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:13 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not a Mudder. However, the linear algebra that a Mudder taught me gets more useful every year. I think it has already become the most useful mathematics class I've taken.

All the time, people talk about the rising primacy of data, but what that speaks to me is instead the rising primacy of matrices and the cool things you can do with them, from PageRank to the lastest in computer vision.
posted by curuinor at 6:46 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favorite recent linear algebra moment was when I realized that this could be understood as projection onto the principal eigenvector of a linear transform.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:12 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


benito.strauss, people go to college to study English for years. You mathematicians can't just come along and make it up on the fly.

I have taken the liberty of translating what you wrote:
projection onto means screaming when
the principal eigenvector means the responsible adult
of a linear transform means is lying down.

And yes, that is exactly what happens when my kids are like when they get ahold of a bag of candy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:39 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, instead of candy you should give them a book on Linear Algebra. They'll most likely fall asleep from boredom, but you've got a one in ten million shot to discover the next Feynman.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:50 PM on March 14, 2013


So when I took Linear Algebra, I had an excellent professor who hailed from the United Kingdom. Especially during the first week, we spent a lot of time talking about three-dimensional matrices like [x, y, z]. Since the professor was British, this was of course pronounced "ex, why, and zed," which was fine by me. But a good week and a half into the course, one student raises her hand and says, "I just have one question: what is this 'zed' you keep talking about?"

I hate to think how confusing the preceding lectures were for her!
posted by zachlipton at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2013


I took differential equations from a German, who said "eee" for i and "eye" for e. the first few lectures were pretty hard to follow until I realized I should just look at what he wrote on the board instead of what he said.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:58 PM on March 15, 2013


No surprise to see Art Benjamin's name on this. Back at CMU in the mid-80s he had his fingers in the best of our frat's Greek Sing parodies.
posted by booth at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2013


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