This is the story of chalk. Not just any chalk, but a Japanese brand called Hagoromo, which mathematician Satyan Devadoss dubbed "the Michael Jordan of chalk, the Rolls Royce of chalk" Then the company decided to stop making chalk. So mathematicians began hoarding it.
The last president of the Hagoromo chalk company, Takayasu Watanabe, talks about why he shut down his beloved product (poor health + plummeting demand–he was losing money on chalk) - so he shipped the machines to South Korea to keep the production going. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Hagoromo-president-explains-why-he-closed-down-his-beloved-chalk-business …
Most Field Medals per capita in Mathematics 🧮 (which is awarded to mathematicians under 40 years of age every four years) for large countries:
France 🇫🇷 has won 12 medals / 18.2 per capita (2.5 times median) vs 14 medals for USA 🇺🇸/ 4.2 per capita (way below median of 7.22).
Out of the 60 Field medals in mathematics awarded since 1936, 59 have gone to men. The sole female winner was Iranian-born Maryam Mirzakhani, a mathematics professor at Stanford University in California, who won it in 2014.
She died in 2017 of breast cancer, at age 40.
Chalk markings on a tennis court helped launched the McDonald’s innovative kitchen flow process that was copied by so many other industries (“lean manufacturing“). We don’t celebrate chalk enough.
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