Of baseball and earthquakes: an interview with Richard Hoshino

Dear readers,

I’m delighted to kick off my interview series with a very special person, Richard Hoshino. I first met Richard at the Math training camp organized by the Canadian Mathematical Society in the winter of 2001, where he conducted some really engaging sessions on a topic I wasn’t very good at: inequalities. I left the camp with much more confidence in my math problem-solving skills than I had arrived with.

In 2005 I attended Richard’s keynote presentation at the annual Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (CUMC) in Kingston. This presentation inspired all of us to strive for a healthy balance between research, teaching, and volunteer work in our careers, rather than adopting the “publish or perish” mentality so prevalent in academic circles. I was greatly inspired by Richard’s presentation.

When McGill University was voted to host the following year’s conference and I headed the organizing committee, it was an easy decision to invite Richard back as a keynote speaker, and his presentation (the slides alone don’t do justice to Richard’s oratory skills), touching on his work at the Canada Border Services Agency, showed us a great example of combining mathematics research with public service.

Even after Richard left Canada to live in Japan with his spouse, we stayed in touch and he continued to inspire me, especially when he put his mathematical skills to use to help earthquake relief efforts. He is currently writing a book to inspire young mathematicians and working on a postdoctoral fellowship in Tokyo that just got featured in Japan’s leading English-language newspaper!

You can download our conversation (I still need to figure out how to make it possible to stream it directly). Hope you enjoy this interview!

To find out more about Richard’s work you can visit his homepage.
You can also check out his advisor’s book that he mentioned in the interview.
This is Richard’s research article with an application to music.
Also check out Quest University where Richard is about to start teaching.
Finally, his most recent article on scheduling a game show is on pages 14-15.