My name is Toyesh Jayaswal and I am currently a student at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science. I was born in India and have lived all around America before settling down in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts where I spent most of my school life. More than anything, I love learning about math and science and understanding new things each day. I also love music. I have been playing the flute for around five years and just started learning how to play the acoustic guitar. I don’t have a favorite flutist but my favorite guitarists are Tommy Emmanuel and Paco de Lucia.
I’m from India and in particular, a location that has plenty of historical and cultural significance around it. The state that I live in, Uttar Pradesh, is likely most commonly known for containing the Taj Mahal, one of the most popular attractions in the world. I was able to set aside time a few years ago to visit the city, Agra, that housed this magnificent monument. I have visited other attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, but they don’t nearly compare to the design, precision and hard work that has gone into the formation of the Taj. Although this in itself is an impressive feat, Agra, having been the center of the Mughal Empire during its peak, has much more to offer. Historical sites such as the Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri provide a gateway into the lives of one of the greatest empires in history. A few hours away from Agra is the city I live in, Allahabad, which has plenty of significance of its own. Namely, Allahabad contains the Triveni Sangam which is the meeting point of India’s two major rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers. Being of religious importance, Allahabad is also the location of one of the largest fairs in India, the Kumbh Mela, which is held only once roughly every twelve years.
Having liked math and science since I was young, I picked up a fondness of scientific history. Learning about the evolution of science and thought over time never ceases to amaze me, but my favorite historical figure, who I have learned the most about, is Euler. There are many things about him that are impressive including laying down a large portion of the framework of modern math, popularizing common notation, and even having credit for what is sometimes considered ‘the most beautiful equation in all of mathematics,’ just to name a few. Another influential mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace, even once said “Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all.” In fact, even some of the hardest problems today can be traced back to his work. In 2000, the Clay Institute presented 7 problems collectively named The Millennium Prize Problems which are deemed so difficult that solving even one of them has the reward of a million dollars attached. So far, only one has been proven, whose solver, interestingly enough, denied both the monetary prize and a Fields Medal, a highly prestigious award. One of these seven problems, The Riemann Hypothesis, deals with the relation of seemingly unrelated math to the distribution of prime numbers, work that was initialized by Euler and developed by Riemann many years later. Another one, The Navier-Stokes Equations, deals with solutions to fluid flow problems. These equations are derived from a relatively “simpler” equation that goes through various generalizations, one of which is the Euler Equation. I doubt that for many years to come, there will ever be a mathematician or scientist as influential as this 18th century polymath.
I took part in two volunteering activities this year. The first was a class teaching high school competition math to middle school students. The motivation was that I learned many new ideas coming into high school that I wished someone had told me earlier. I started teaching students with my friend at the local library the summer before junior year. We went over a large assortment of topics such as combinatorics and number theory. Together, we narrowed down the information and presented it in a way that we felt would be relatively easy to follow. The following summer, I ran two more programs which were run online. The first had many topics to cover similar to the previous year and the second was a deep dive into geometry. The experience was really enjoyable and I was able to help students learn while giving myself new ideas to work with.
The second activity also consisted of teaching but the class was on programming rather than math. I joined project CODY at Clark University which aimed to teach younger students how to program. I worked with two students through learning Java starting from the basics and moving on to more complex features of the language. We had covered about half of the AP computer science curriculum in the span of a summer and I was amazed at how well the students were able to grasp and understand the concepts. Again, it was a great opportunity and I'm lucky to have been able to spread knowledge of something I love doing to others.