The mathematician Tadashi Tokieda loves to explore the special mathematical and physical properties of the simple objects that he calls “toys” — and he’s passionate about sharing what they can teach us about the world. In this episode, he takes host Steven Strogatz on a conversational tour of some of his toys’ surprises and talks about his life as an artist and classical philologist before he became a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. This episode was produced by Dana Bialek. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Production and original music by Story Mechanics.