Mathematician John Edmund Kerrich passed his time in Nazi captivity by flipping a coin 10,000 times. The total percentage of heads and tails flips varied wildly at first but gradually converged around 50/50, providing a demonstration of the Law of Large Numbers.
John Urschel, offensive line guard for the Baltimore Ravens has a BS and Masters in mathematics from Penn State, and just finished his first 4 classes of his PhD program in spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning. With straight As.
A math professor had worked out an equation to calculate how long into a car journey it takes a child to ask: “Are we there yet?”
A man who was attacked and beaten outside of a bar turned into a math genius. Jason Padgett never made it past pre-algebra but after the injury, he began seeing the world in pixelated, geometrics shapes, understood the concept of pi and had a sudden ability to hand-draw complex fractals.
The largest mathematical proof is 15000 pages long, involved more than 100 mathematicians and took 30 years just to complete it.
Grigori Perelman, a Russian mathematician, successfully proved the Poincaré conjecture (one of the seven Millennium problems) in papers made available in 2002 and 2003. When his work survived review, he was offered a Fields Medal and the $1,000,000 Millennium Prize, both of which he turned down.
In 2006, it took Akira Haraguchi, a retired Japanese engineer, 16 hours to recite the first 100,000 digits of pi from memory only. To prove that the exercise was legitimate, everything was filmed, even his trips to the toilet. Despite this, he has yet to receive a Guinness World Record.
North Korea is the only country to have been caught cheating at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Twice.
Shakuntala Devi, an Indian mental calculator, was asked to give the 23rd root of a 201-digit number; she answered in 50 seconds. Her answer was confirmed by calculations done at the US Bureau of Standards for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.
“Schoolhouse Rock!” was produced because the creator noticed one of his sons, who was having trouble in school remembering the multiplication tables, knew the lyrics to then-current rock songs.