Personal Polynomial

The mathematical formula that spells your name!

The Global Math Project and the National Math Festival have teamed up to celebrate Global Math Week 2017 with fun formulas for everyone. Come get your very own Personal Polynomial!

What’s a polynomial? Just a type of math expression.

What’s your Personal Polynomial? Find out by typing your name below!

(This site works best on desktop web browsers.)

Type your name:

Personal Polynomial

Designed by Branden Stone in cooperation with the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Global Math Project

Under the Hood with James Tanton

How to interpret your Personal Polynomial

Here’s a short video giving a very quick overview of how it all works.

The Math Behind The Scenes: Do you want to know more about how these polynomials are created? Here’s a longer explanation so you can dive deeper in the math behind it all!

If you prefer to read, here’s a little description:

Say your names is JAMES. (How coincidental! That is my name!)

The Personal Polynomial for James is

P(x) = 8324 x449712 x3 + 414124 x2346312 x + 164.

And how does this spell James?

Well, put in the value 1 for x, work out the arithmetic, and see that that value 10 results. And what is the tenth letter of the alphabet? It’s J!

Put in the value 2 for x, work out the arithmetic, and see that the value 1 results. And what is the first letter of the alphabet? It’s A!

Keep doing this and see JAMES appear.

P(1)  = 10  = J
P(2)  = 1  = a
P(3)  = 13  = m
P(4)  = 5  = e
P(5)  = 19  = s

Amaze your friends and family, and share your polynomial with the world!

More Math!

If you enjoyed making your Personal Polynomial, the National Math Festival invites you to explore the wonder and beauty of math through puzzles, games, books, videos, and other mathy treats at More Math!

Take part in the world’s biggest community math event, ever! Global Math Week 2017.