Mathologer Explains How You Can Use Math to Make Things Disappear

Mathematics professor and dedicated fan Burkard Polster explains the energy-minimizing Toroflux paradox in a way we can finally understand!
Loukia Papadopoulos

The Toroflux is a kinetic spring toy invented in the mid-1990s by Jochen Valett. It features a ribbon of steel which is woven into a torus spring and is known for the amazing fits it can perform due to its energy-minimizing abilities. The toy has for a long time been popular amongst physics lovers.

Now, it turns out one student playing with the toy came upon an incredible property of the Toroflux: its ability to vanish! He reached out to mathematics professor and dedicated fan Burkard Polster, also known as YouTuber Mathologer, who decided to share the mathematical secrets of the Toroflux's disappearing qualities with the world.

"Today is all about geometric appearing and vanishing paradoxes and that math that powers them. This video was inspired by a new paradox of this type that Bill Russel from Bakersfield, California discovered while playing with a Toroflux," explained Polster on his video's description.

Math lovers will be very happy to see the video also features cameos by "Cassini's Fibonacci identity which forms a core of a very nice Fibonacci based paradox", the "classic Get-off-the-the-Earth puzzle", and more mathematics stars! Meanwhile, everyone else is sure to enjoy this demonstration of how mathematics can be used to essentially perform magic.

However, since magic does not actually exist, what does that say about this paradox? "Fibonacci magic boils down to cheating," explains Polster in the clip. "But it is really magical, really ingenious cheating." As is the best magic!