Steven Strogatz has a really impressive resumé. Besides being a professor at Cornell, he also has the sixth most highly cited paper in all of physics and his 1998 paper “Collective dynamics of small-world networks” was the most highly cited paper in its field for a decade. Cool as all of that is that’s not what excites us most about Steven Strogatz, because as you look at his resumé you realize that Strogatz is perhaps the greatest living popularizer of something that underpins all of our lives but most people have (at best) mixed feelings about: math. As the author of a series of NY Times columns that the Harvard Business Review “must reads for entrepreneurs and executives who grasp that mathematics is now the lingua franca of serious business analysis.” Those columns have now been collected in an awesome book called The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math From One to Infinity. From basic arithmetic to calculus and beyond, Strogatz shows readers not just what math is but puts it in a context that allows us to experience the beauty of math regardless of how much math we actually know. In this interview, Professor Strogatz discusses his book and gives Bryan and Hunter an inside look at the life of a top-level mathematician. They discuss math prodigies, cultural beliefs at math and the importance of constantly striving for excellence every day even if you’re not sure it’ll pay necessarily pay off. This conversation will not only teach you the Joy of X; it will teach you the Joy of Talking to Professor Strogatz.
Steven Strogatz is the author of three books: The Calculus of Friendship, Sync and The Joy of X. They’re all available at Amazon and everywhere else. Also, check out his awesome TED talk about how flocks of birds and other animals sync up: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_strogatz_on_sync.html
Steven Strogatz is on twitter @stevenstrogatz. Be sure to check out his website stevenstrogatz.com.