40. Tadashi’s practical application

Steven Strogatz is a well know applied mathematician from Cornell University, and has done some fascinating research on nonlinear dynamics (NLD). His lecture series on NLD and chaos is one of the best I have come across. Apart from writing columns in New York Times, he has also published some fantastic books on explaining mathematics, its relevance and impact on our daily lives, society and ecology.

Steve Strogatz has also been hosting The Joy of x podcast on the Quanta Magazine. In there, he interviews many contemporary mathematicians and scientists, who are actively involved in research and teaching. I found these informal interactions and exchange of ideas very interesting.

In one of the podcasts, Steven interviews Tadashi Tokieda, a mathematician who is interested in toys, and specifically the intriguing mathematics and physics of toys. In this interview, Tadashi describes his journey as an artist, philologist and as a professor who works on mathematics of toys.

Towards the end of the podcast (around 49 min in this audio), Tadashi describes how people (especially adults) ask him about the practical applications of studying toys, and how it can be beneficial to them. To this, his answer is something on the following lines :

When I show these toys to children, and explain to them the science and mathematics related to the toys, they feel very happy about it. What can be a better practical application that this !

Listening this just made my day…

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