The Della Pietra Lecture Series is pleased to present Professor Tadashi Tokieda
Wednesday February 8, 5:00pm, Tea reception at 4:30pm
*Speaker will present via zoom. A viewing will be held in the Della Pietra Family Auditorium, room 103 of the Simons Center.
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Title: Reversing the direction of application, from physics to mathematics
Abstract: Traditionally mathematics is applied to physics. Yet, humans tend to be better at physics than at mathematics. When an apple falls from a tree, there are more people who can catch it—they know physically how the apple moves—than those who can compute its trajectory from a differential equation. Applying physical ideas to discover and make sense of mathematical results is therefore natural, even if it has seldom been tried in the history of science. (The exceptions include Archimedes, some old Russian sources, a recent book of Levi’s, as well as my articles and lectures.) A variety of surprising examples will be presented.
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Tadashi Tokieda grew up as a painter in Japan, became a classical philologist (not to be confused with philosopher) in France and, after a PhD in pure mathematics from Princeton, has been an applied mathematician in Europe and North America. He is now a professor at Stanford. He is also active in outreach around the world, especially via the youtube channel Numberphile and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.