Tadashi Tokieda’s “World from a sheet of paper” lecture

Yesterday we saw an incredible public lecture from Tadashi Tokieda. He showed an hours worth of amazing mathematical ideas that come from paper folding.

This is actually our second project inspired by Tokieda. The first came from his “freaky dot patterns” video with Numberphile:

Numberphile’s Freaky Dot Pattern Video

We’ve also done a project on some of the paper cutting activities in this other Tokieda video, though we saw the idea in a different place:

Here’s that project:

Cutting a double Mobius strip

If you are interested in seeing a longer presentation from Tokieda, he has also given a public lecture at the Museum of Mathematics:

Tokieda’s public presentations are absolutely incredible!

We started our project today by exploring an idea at the beginning of the MoMath lecture – I wanted to show the boys something that they’d not seen previously. The exploration here is the noise that a coffee mug makes when you strike it with a spoon at various different locations (and sorry that my hand was blocking a lot of the shot here):

Next we looked at one of the surprising paper folding patterns you can see without doing any careful folding. It is fascinating to see folding patterns arising as naturally as this one does:

For the last project today we looked at the demonstration that Tokieda used to start his lecture yesterday – passing a large circle through a small hole. It seems as though the task is impossible, but some clever folding makes it work. They boys had a bit of a hard time explaining how this one worked – but that’s fine – it is hard to believe that it works at all!

So, a fun project today following yesterday’s fascinating lecture. It is so great to see lectures like Tokieda’s that bring amazing math to everyone – from kids to tenured MIT math professors!


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