Tadashi's Toys

Tadashi Tokieda loves to share his toys: in this case, objects you can make in a matter of minutes at home, which illustrate principles of mathematics. Dr. Tokieda has partnered with journalist and filmmaker Brady Haran, creator of MSRI's sponsored Numberphile YouTube channel, to demonstrate these tricky objects.

"When I show those toys and share these surprises with people, often they say 'Oh, it's wonderful, because you take difficult science and simplify it!' That's well meant, of course, but that's exactly what I'm trying
not to do. All the things that you're seeing here are surprising for scientists and children alike. All you have to do is look at nature with some imagination and perseverance and you can identify -- sometimes, if you're lucky -- pockets of mystery. These toys come from those pockets of mystery that surprise all of us equally."- Dr. Tadashi Tokieda

You might also enjoy hearing more about the math and physics behind some of Dr. Tokieda's toys. You can learn more about Dr. Tokieda himself in this article from the Harvard Gazette. As of Fall 2017 he is a professor of mathematics at Stanford; previously he had been a director of studies in mathematics at Cambridge for 13 years. Most of his research is in applied mathematics and macroscopic physics, including experiments.

Brady Haran (creator of Numberphile) and Tadashi Tokieda filming in MSRI's library, February 2016

Numberphile: Tadashi's Toys

These videos feature math toys that you can create easily at home using simple materials.

You can find more videos where Dr. Tokieda shows off his favorite math puzzles and tricks:

Numberphile: Tadashi Tokieda Playlist

Videos by Zala Films

MSRI has also produced an earlier series of videos with Zala Films, featuring more demonstrations and discussion of Tadashi's personal collection of math-based toys.

Featured video: Cedar balls from Zala Films on Vimeo