Falling in Love Again (With Maths)

If you like maths just a bit I’m sure you remember your first encounter with the solution to the Towers of Hanoi puzzle. If you kept doing maths you probably consider the problem too trivial now, but try to go back to the emotions you felt that very first time.

I personally vividly remember my excitement as I discovered recursion through these stacks of moving discs. I was blown away by this new mental model – splitting a problem into smaller versions of itself – and how it allowed me to structure a seemingly devilish problem in a way that made it trivial to solve.

In today’s Mathologer video, the amazing Burkard Polster brought back these emotions not only by allowing me to dive back into the Towers of Hanoi puzzle, but by taking it three steps ahead into 4 pegs and 5 pegs versions of the problem. As always, he does it with exceptional clarity and delightful animations.

Brighten up your Saturday and sharpen your mind by watching this. I bet you’ll enjoy it even if math is not your thing.