Search - School / College / Institute

The Mathematician Tadashi Tokieda Says That He Relishes The “Toys”

Tadashi Tokieda also called a person revealing surprises, is a Japanese mathematician, who is working in mathematical physics. He is currently professor of mathematics at Stanford University, that before this he was the Director of Studies in Mathematics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he taught maths.

He is basically known for his contribution in inventing, collecting, and studying toys that uniquely reveal and explore real-world surprises of mathematics and physics. Tadashi was born in Japan and grew up as a very common painter. He was thereafter educated at Lycée Sainte-Marie Grand Lebrun in France as a classical philologist. According to his personal homepage, he taught himself basic mathematics from Russian collections of problems. He graduated in 1989 classics graduate from Sophia University in Tokyo and has a 1991 bachelor's degree from Oxford in mathematics (where he studied as a British Council Fellow). He obtained his PhD at Princeton under the supervision of William Browder to master at mathematical physics. He seems to imagine things like in a world in which ordinary objects do extraordinary things. Jars of rice refuse to roll down ramps. Strips of paper slip past solid obstacles. Balls swirling inside a bowl switch direction when more balls join them. Tadashi seems to have a collection of more than 100 things of what he calls “toys” , those are such objects from daily life that are easy to make yet exhibit behavior so startling that they often puzzle even physicists. In public lectures at the university and the uploaded YouTube videos, he showcases his toys with chucklesome, uprising commentary in English, even though it’s his seventh language. He further mentioned at the lectures that his goal is only partly to entertain it’s also to show people that scientific discoveries are not the exclusive preserve of professional scientists. That in the recent interview he quoted that “The part of the universe that we can experience with our own biological senses is limited; Nonetheless, in that range we can experience things ourselves.” He further said that he wants all humans to cooperate and find something really good and surprising in nature and just understand it with their basic senses. Nobody should make it any harder like playing puzzles just be sharper. Nobody should put in any extra rules. A child and a scientist can share the same surprise.

By: Anuja Arora