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Awardee for Mathematics: Calculating wind turbine efficiency requires “very hardcore math”

“I had no idea the prize existed, so it came as a pleasant shock when it was announced at graduation," says Reinosuke Kusano, who received The Leonard Euler Award for Mathematics from the Swiss Embassy in Copenhagen. "It’s an award for solving mathematical problems innovatively and in a unique way. It’s a subject I have put a lot of time and effort into ever since I was in Kindergarten, so I was very honored to receive the prize.

What I like about math? You can describe most things in the world based on mathematics, and I just think that’s really cool. I also find it amazing that because math existed as one of the languages in which people built theories, areas of study like physics, chemistry and engineering could develop to the extent that they have today.

For the International Baccalaureate we have to write an extended essay, and I was actually writing on physics, but I ended up having to use a lot of math, quite complicated math. I found that very interesting, because with physics sometimes the perception is that there is not so much math, but it was more than I expected.

I was writing about surface energy: If a raindrop falls on a flat surface it makes a kind of oval. Depending on the shape of the water droplet you can calculate the surface energy between the plate and the water. I investigated the relationship that the surface has with the salt concentration of the water. I used the material that they use to make wind turbines to calculate the energy. I was talking about how effective they actually are. It turns out they are very effective. The process by which I calculated the energy required a lot of very hardcore math.

I am planning to start studying physics at the Imperial College in London after summer break. That will hopefully be very exciting.”