Link to animation:

I can't speak English so my student is translating this for me.

Comments: 1049 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

8Bakemono81093 karma

Hello, Nikolay Nikolaevich!

I am graduated from your "M" class (school 179) in 2005 and now i am a graduate student in University of Miami. First i wanted to say thank you for your work, without you i wouldn't be here. And i have one question.

Here in US physics in schools is not mandatory and i think this is a big mistake, because it is so important in many sciences. I see how students struggle with it in undergraduate but they have to take it. Therefore, many of them hate it. Do you think that physics should be mandatory in schools? or us system is better?

TwentySevenSquared1365 karma

Nothing Should be mandatory- just highly recommended

What is you full name? I might remember you!

8Bakemono8902 karma


TwentySevenSquared1602 karma

Ah yes! I remember both of you! Both of you were very bright!

bl00dshooter116 karma

Nothing Should be mandatory- just highly recommended

Could you elaborate a bit more on this, please? Do you believe that even such important subjects as Math and your primary language (in your case Russian) should be optional? Does it work this way in the schools you founded?

TwentySevenSquared390 karma

There should be different schools dedicated to different interests.

You should know the basics of everything, but to go further is your choice

Wimbelton559 karma

When you get stuck during a math problem, what are some of your tips for getting un-stuck? Also, how do you get yourself excited to do math? Sometimes, it's hard to start, but once you get going with a problem, it can be fun! Have you ever felt that you weren't as good as some of your math heros?

TwentySevenSquared1998 karma

Forget everything you tried and start over.

Untangling a knot is more difficult than tying a new one.

AsskickMcGee551 karma

There is a simple internet game named "QWOP" where the player must make an athlete run by individually "flexing" the thigh and calf muscles using the Q-W-O-P keyboard keys. It has become a bit of a running joke due to how incredibly awkward it is.

Would you care to comment on the game designer's approach to human leg movement?

Example video here:

TwentySevenSquared1514 karma

They clearly haven't ever seen a human being.

PalpatineSenpai475 karma

Student here!

Maths is my favourite subject at school. But, what are your personal views on the Mathematics Curriculum in Schools? Do you believe it is adequate, or do you believe they restrict the truly wonderful ideas and concepts of Maths?

TwentySevenSquared670 karma

I strongly dislike regular curriculum mathematics!

For this reason I helped found The 3 Special mathematics schools located in Moscow: School 179, Л2Ш, School 57.

TheSilkyOak233 karma

What exactly do you dislike about it?

TwentySevenSquared1038 karma

They just get the students to memorize formulas

We get them to understand them

usernamebeentook360 karma

Could you maybe send over a translated syllabus or suggestions on how we can take our mathematics education into our own hands?

TwentySevenSquared383 karma

Thanks for The idea!

TheSilkyOak178 karma

yeah i would love to see the materials that your schools use. In English if possible :) .

TwentySevenSquared467 karma

I'll translate some of the current material and post it in this thread


max_music425 karma

This is really cool!

Please give Nikolay my sincere thanks for the work he has done throughout his career.

My question: Has your study of mathematics shaped your perception of life and the universe at all? How so? Do you ever think of its implications on a philosophical level?

TwentySevenSquared812 karma

Yes, It's pretty difficult to stare at a piece of paper 8 hours a day and to not start wondering about the meaning of life.

On a serious note, I strongly appreciate your interest to my work and I wish you to surpass it!

Rockified341 karma

Best studying advice?

TwentySevenSquared1251 karma


zzephyrus157 karma

Well that's certainly a new approach. As a student I'll try to take your advice and try to 'study'.

TwentySevenSquared256 karma

You're welcome and good luck!

Raute_ko_xoro_moh284 karma

What do you suggest for someone who wants to learn mathematics but thinks they cannot?

TwentySevenSquared639 karma

You can! A lot of teaches call children stupid and tell them they have no potential- they become unmotivated and start fearing mathematics. In my school the children have respect for the teachers and the teacher never raises his voice- an environment where studying can exist.

Start by forgetting the " I can't do it " part!

Good luck!

Zanner360276 karma

Do you have something in maths that you're working on or something you hope to achieve in the near future?

TwentySevenSquared620 karma

I'm 85 years old! I want to help advance and motivate the younger generations to study mathematics- that is my main current goal.

I do have some projects but explaining would take at least half an hour!

risingfreshman249 karma

Hi! Thank you for this AMA--my father was a student at school 57 until 1991, when he came to the United States. I heard from him that you helped Jewish students who were unjustly rejected from Moscow University. Do you think there was a lot of anti-Semitism in the Russian education system, and is there still anti-Semitism today?

TwentySevenSquared399 karma

There certainly was- And I did everything I could to stop it

Thankfully, It is nonexistent today.

pdoherty926227 karma

How have advances in computing changed the way you'd approach a problem like this one? Or haven't they?

TwentySevenSquared497 karma

The basics stayed the same, but you don't need 2kg of paper to write a simple program nowadays.

smaugthedesolator153 karma

Basic question, but what first interested you in math as a child? And did you know it would lead you to such great things?

TwentySevenSquared294 karma

Thanks to my friend, when I was in the 8th grade I went To a Lecture that Isak Eglom was Hosting. I was Utterly amazed that "true" mathematics was completely different it was from the school curriculum. I was hooked immediately.

toothsaber87 karma

Can you give any recommendations of books to read which would make it interesting ?

TwentySevenSquared205 karma

Of course! But they are all in Russian without translation to English so I would recommend trying to understand contest mathematics. The Pascal triangle is a good start- think of some formulas that can explain how each row increases in proportion to the last.

commafighter140 karma

A philosophical question.. are we living inside a simulation?

TwentySevenSquared631 karma

I don't know, ask the guy who maintains the servers

pineapple13v2132 karma

What interests you besides math?

TwentySevenSquared285 karma

Biology and astronomy are my interests.

orcjuraa127 karma

Whats it like to be smart?

TwentySevenSquared470 karma

I don't know, ask yourself.

Rtutorsneeded113 karma

How would you suggest someone learn all of the fields of mathematics? How can someone be like Poncair and master all of the current mathematics?

I am a student who is immensely passionate about learning mathematics. I want to learn everything from combinatorics to sets to higher level differentials to advanced algebra to even physics applications such as quantum physics.

So far I have taken calculus 1 and calculus 2. Next year I will take linear algebra with differential equations. After that I will take multivariable calculus.

How should I proceed to real analysis and higher level math classes?

TwentySevenSquared258 karma

You most likely heard most of the information you need to succeed. I don't know you in person but I can tell you something that is universal- NEVER and I mean NEVER be afraid to ask your teacher questions- That is the only way to grow.

Bunny_Wabbit112 karma

If you say something mean about your translator, will he translate it?

TwentySevenSquared281 karma

He is a very smart guy -Totally my teacher

fredrick_the_ok85 karma

What's your favorite beer?

TwentySevenSquared446 karma

I don't drink.

Try water- I heard it's healthy

Oil_Rope_Bombs81 karma

What do you think of Greg Perelman?

TwentySevenSquared153 karma

I think that him saying no to the 1000000$- that's very noble, I would do the same ( If I got the chance )

Phillipinsocal79 karma

My third grade elementary teacher taught me my multiplication tables through songs, numbers 2-9. To this day, I STILL use these songs as my go to and ever since I've learned from said teacher, my math prowess has only grown exponentially since then. Has there been any research don't to the correlation between song and mathematics or numbers and rhythm for that matter?

TwentySevenSquared119 karma

Rhythm is a may to logically connect things that can't otherwise ( at least in a simple way ) be put together in one piece

bangtan_is_bae42071 karma


How do you feel about Goat Simulator?

TwentySevenSquared217 karma

Is that what you people do for fun today? What's so interesting in pretending to be a goat? Please explain...

ImOnlyHereForKarma66 karma

Hello Nikolay, I would like to know why your username is TwentySevenSquared?

Is there any significance to this number (729)?

TwentySevenSquared108 karma

This is my translators account

WobblyGobbledygook66 karma

How far has the science/art come since then? How close are we to not realizing it's not an actual animal's movement?

TwentySevenSquared158 karma

It was a computer program that we (my team) stored on 200 paper disks that could hold 200 bits of information. It was far from perfect but it was the first program that could see legs as separate from each other and make them follow the body. It was revolutionary at the time, but the technology has advance very far since then.

TEGKDR64 karma

Do you feel hopeful on the worlds progress towards teaching mathematics and what areas within mathematics do you feel should be taught to all people?

TwentySevenSquared152 karma

Yes! In the 179th school we think that anyone can understand mathematics is they try hard enough (I'll pitch in to say that my teacher is the Bob Ross of math)


Do you feel that growing up under the USSR limited you academically?

TwentySevenSquared216 karma

No, not at all. The USSR May have limited me in some places, but it only motivated me in mathematics.

rebel_alliance0557 karma

Have you seen the movie Good Will Hunting? If you have; what is your review on the movie, and was there any moments you found ridiculous?

TwentySevenSquared84 karma

I didn't watch it but I think I will today!

Wait for a reply!

mfoster32653 karma

Do people ever call you "Niko Niko"?

TwentySevenSquared106 karma

Yes! But it's actually Nik Nik

ryemigie52 karma

What is the hardest problem you have faced in Math? Do you struggle with any type of Math?

Thank you very much for taking the time to do an AMA, I really appreciate it and your answers.

TwentySevenSquared100 karma

The ones I couldn't solve

E123-Omega47 karma

What's with the project? Is this for a game (like sims) or for research purposes? And whats math to do with this? Thanks!

TwentySevenSquared59 karma

Neither-I'm too old for computers

ukralibre41 karma

Could you share an article with formuilas used in this simulation? I think it could be fun to do it again :) I am russian speaker

ukralibre19 karma

Thank you, kind stranger

lmnt417 karma


TwentySevenSquared106 karma

Wow, I didn't know they were online! I lost the originals a couple years ago!

MycroftTnetennba39 karma

Which is your favourite Russian Mathematician and why?

TwentySevenSquared67 karma

My professor Prof.Kronrod, not because he was my teacher, but because we were interested in the same fields of mathematics

DownWithAssad38 karma

In your opinion, why does Russia have such strong computer programmers and mathematicians? What is different in Russia when it comes to teaching mathematics than in the West?

TwentySevenSquared247 karma

I'll reply with an half-true anecdote: An American institute is where Chinese students are taught by Russian Professors.

chillicheeseburger35 karma

Are there any books on mathematics that you could recommend for someone who is interested but has never been really good at it? I would like to broaden my understanding of math but I have no idea where to start.

TwentySevenSquared49 karma

I replied to a question like this

You can do anything you want, as long as you give it your all

Use the regular books- you know them

Good luck!

DaRoyalJester34 karma

Здравствуйте! Im an american student, and as someone who had a very hard struggle in choosing their field, it makes me wonder- hoe did you decide on becoming a mathematician? It seems like an interesting, yet odd, field of work.

TwentySevenSquared63 karma

It all depends on what you want- Don't try to solve your dilemma by passing it on to someone else!

Good luck and Work hard!

HansLicktenstein34 karma

How did you feel after the simulation you created was completed?

TwentySevenSquared87 karma


KillerAc132 karma

As a student, is there a question even my teachers can't answer?

TwentySevenSquared151 karma

Oh they can answer anything

But weather it would be correct is a different topic

vardonir31 karma

Здравствуйте, Николай Николаевич! Я инностранный​ студентка в России. Я учусь физика)

Sorry for the bad Russian.

Your intro says you don't speak English, but does that mean you don't know any English? Have you ever found problems with interacting with the rest of the scientific community outside of the Russian speaking countries?

TwentySevenSquared86 karma

Translators exist for a reason

And my main language is mathematics

vardonir18 karma

If I may ask another question: what computer language do you use for making your simulations?

TwentySevenSquared61 karma

Student here, he hasn't done anything connected to programming for the last 30 years.

whyizthizzohard30 karma

Did you basically model shadows that would have occurred if the cat were moving in 3d? Since then, have you ventured into simulating movement in 3d? Do you like modern software that makes this kind of thing much easier, and not require the kind of expertise you may bring?

TwentySevenSquared34 karma

Yes to the first question and no to the second.

unicornsandmuons22 karma

What are your thoughts on the millennium prize problems? Which one do you think will be most likely to be solved first?

TwentySevenSquared58 karma

I'm not sure

Ask Pillerman- He might be on it

kevikid24420 karma

What areas of mathematics would you consider to be the best for finding out about just as a hobby?

TwentySevenSquared38 karma

Anything you personally find interesting

ominousfire20 karma


I'm a fourth year undergraduate math major. I dunno if this has been asked yet because my phone aint too great so here it goes. What is your favorite set of numbers to work with and why?

On a more serious note, is there a topic you would recommend I (or other aspiring math majors) study on my own time as a math major? Something you wish you knew about when learning math? (Other than "get a more realistic career / better paying career" as some of my professors tell me).

TwentySevenSquared37 karma

There is no specific set of numbers you should like

There is no "most important theorem" you should know

Everything is person to person

_logic-bomb_17 karma

I'm a math grad. Would like to ask your favorite topics in math? Do you a favorite mathematician? Someone you look upto?

TwentySevenSquared52 karma

Don't make idols and try to imitate them- Be yourself and do what you feel necessary!

jonathankohn1617 karma

can you talk about how math is relevant to this animal movement simulation?

are modern methods different? how have things improved?

is there any utility in animal movement modeling?

TwentySevenSquared28 karma

My teacher isn't sure so I'll answer for him

The main change is that the body can be " tied" to the appendages

warpod15 karma

What is your favorite unsolved problem in mathematics?

TwentySevenSquared31 karma

Braures theorem.

popsicleemperor11 karma

Hello! This AMA is very interesting! I appreciate your time!

I was just curious do you feel attached or enjoy any equations, formulas or types of math the most? I'm weirdly fond of Algebra​. as a visual learner, I find it fun and puzzle like to play with the numbers.

Also any advice for discouraged students of math who haven't practiced in years and never continued to within school due to frustration and poor teachers? I was always decent at math but came to dislike it overtime. I was often baffled by the notion of "only one right answer". I'd like to change how I interact and view Mathematics as a whole. Any tips?

TwentySevenSquared14 karma


They shouldn't listen to anyone that say them can't achieve something

Continue your passion to mathematics by finding topics that interest you- Everything is person to person

AlexHimself10 karma

How do you feel about current US-Russia relations?

TwentySevenSquared99 karma

I might be the vice principal of a school that is 25 meters away from the parliament but I stay as far away as possible from politics.

DownWithAssad3 karma

Are you descended from Russia Imperial royalty?

TwentySevenSquared14 karma

No, but my grandfather mast the leading engineer of the largest ever oil company before the USSR.

Smittytec2 karma

If you could change any fundamental principle of math, what would it be and why? :)

TwentySevenSquared7 karma

You can't change something that can only exist in one form

grammarwow0 karma

What is 37+32?

TwentySevenSquared1 karma

Too difficult for me.