The bicycle problem that nearly broke mathematics
Nature News - 07/20/2016
Papadopoulos, who now has a teaching position at Northeastern University in Boston, is trying to get comfortable with academia once again. He’s establishing collaborations, and testing out long-dormant ideas about why some bicycles wobble at high speed7. He believes he can eliminate speed wobble with a damper to soak up vibrations in the seat post. With his new colleagues and students, he is branching out into other types of question, not all them bike-related.
Down in his basement, Papadopoulos opens the drawer of a tan filing cabinet and starts flipping through crinkled manila folders marked with labels such as ‘tire pressure’, ‘biomechanics’ and ‘Cornell’. He pulls out a textbook. “Exercise physiology? I never really got into that one,” he says, tossing it aside. In the back of the drawer, he finds a thick folder of bicycle research ideas, marked ‘Unfinished’.