Applying physics to mathematics by Tadashi Tokieda
Humans tend to be better at physics than at mathematics. When an apple falls from a tree, there are more people who can catch it—we know physically how the apple moves—than people who can compute its trajectory from a differential equation. Applying physical ideas to discover and establish mathematical results is therefore natural, even if it has seldom been tried in the history of science. (The exceptions include Archimedes, some old Russian sources, a recent book by Mark Levi, as well as my articles and lectures.) This TMC Distinguished Lecture presents a diversity of examples, and tries to make them easy for imaginative beginners and difficult for seasoned researchers.