Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk

Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk

(upbeat music) – The legend around this
chalk is that it’s impossible to write a false theorem. – I assume the special
ingredient was angel tears. – Mathematicians from all
of the top schools very frequently use it. – It’s a cult favorite. – As soon as I use it I was a convert. – The chalk is one of
the best kept secrets in the math world. – It’s the Rolls Royce of chalk. (gentle music) (chalk scratching) – Hagoromo is a brand of Japanese chalk. The way it flows on a board
is a bit hard to describe in words. – It’s really hard to get. You can only get it from
Japan, you need a Japanese person to bring it back for you. – I discovered it when I went to visit the University of Tokyo and
one of the professors there said to me, you know, we have better chalk than you do in the States
and I said, oh go on, chalk is chalk. And so I tried it out, and
I was surprised to find that he was right. – I tried it, and I
thought it was phenomenal. It’s the densest, it erases the cleanest, it leaves the nicest line. – If you use bad chalk
often you have to press really hard for anyone to
see what you’re writing so using Hagoromo on a good
board, it doesn’t really feel like you’re working hard to write. – When I’m teaching I
get a feeling of energy, confidence, and the
chalk absolutely helps. (chalk clacking) – Slowly the math world
has become aware of this, and it became a bit of
a fad in some circles. (upbeat music) – It was like maybe four
years ago the word came out that the company was
going out of business. I sort of jokingly referred
to it as a chalk apocalypse. So I immediately started
hoarding up as much as I could. – I ordered three boxes
of Hagoromo and kept it in my office and used it very sparingly. – I should’ve bought more but
I have friends that bought boxes and boxes and boxes of the stuff. They might very well be set
for the rest of their career. – We’ve got like 1,500 sticks. That’s a lot of days, four sticks a day. I think I’m gonna make it. – I have probably a 10-year
supply still at home. – I calculated how many boxes
would I need to last for 10 or 15 years. I didn’t wanna become a chalk
dealer, but I did like the idea that I could be
the first stick is free chalk dealer on the
block in my department. – I was probably selling
it regularly to maybe eight to 10 colleagues. I would reach into my
cupboard in my office and pull out another
box and we’d do the deal in my office. Yeah, we all had a chalk fix. And we still do. (gentle music) – The original Hagoromo
chalk is slowly disappearing. A few years ago, a Korean
company bought their formulas and did the best job of
faithfully reproducing it in Korea. – It was mixed emotions. I was happy to know that
it would still be made. But I was a little disappointed
that I was less clever than I thought I was. (gentle music) – In many ways mathematics
is like craftsmanship, in some ways it’s like artistry; in some ways it’s like science. But there’s a real high
craft side to getting a beautiful lecture on a blackboard. Mathematicians admire this in each other and like to use the best tools for it. – There’s incredible value
to this but the value is in using it up, not hoarding it. (gentle music)

Comments (100)

  1. Want to build up your own chalk collection? There's a Korean version of Hagoromo you can buy (we hear it’s just as good 😉). Note that this video is not an ad, but if you purchase a product we recommend, Great Big Story may receive revenue. Everybody wins!:

  2. You can buy it for £16 on amazon

  3. Why dont they just figure out how to make it?

  4. The chalk dealers

  5. They must be a fuckin’ hoot at the block party.

  6. Imagine undercover cops trying to bust a drug kartell and in the end u see thousands of mathematicians deal with chalk🤣

  7. My French teacher eats chalk

  8. Fuck the chalk, seeing them work out problems makes me want to go back to school

  9. Wow it wasn’t the CIA??

  10. student: I need a chalk.
    lecturer: he is the genius

  11. Because they are poor.
    Intelligent is a cursed.

  12. this could be the only thing that’s coming between me and a good math grade

  13. I've never been good at math… but I always liked it. I have failed math multiple times… but I still like it and kept studying it. I like the idea that there's always an onjectove answer (as opposed to more subjective views auch as literature). After tkaing physics and learned of Quantum physics, I learned to love it even more… I'm still not the best; but I love math

  14. Oh, chalk… I remember the last time i used you to write in blackboard, it's when i was 6th grade

  15. It's racist that they went out of business and it is Trump's fault!

  16. Ahh so that's how those japanese kids can make beautiful picture on their chalkboard

  17. This is what happens when nerds get bored

  18. Kids: deal Pokemon cards
    Teens: deal you know what
    Math teachers: deal chalk

  19. They hide cocain in it

  20. Well… You see… White boards…

  21. That shit gives me goosebumps

  22. Why use chalk why not a whiteboard

  23. Y’all. Need. To. Chill.

  24. Does anyone else think that the professor with the blue shirt and glasses kinda sounds like a chill version of Mr.crocker from fairly odd parents?

  25. This is nerdy as shit man

  26. The chalk is great indeed. I have maybe 10 different boxes all together. The large Hagoromo chalks are very nice too.
    Besides writing very smoothly, it is also very easy to erase, especially the color chalk, which for ordinary chalk is gritty and resists erasure.
    Telling the students that the Hagoromo chalk allows no mistakes is a plus.
    The only problem is to transport the chalk safely in your bag. I found an inexpensive sunshades maker, Polar Optics, the boxes of which are ideal, very hard.

    I watched the Hagoromo factory story as told by its last manager in Japan.
    What killed the chalk there was that students started to get computers with floppy disks, and were afraid of the dust… although this chalk is almost dustless.
    The Japanese school organization is very regimented, and they all switched to white boards.

    The current Korean factory packed all the Japanese machines from the floor and transported them.
    The product is virtually identical, made by the same procedures and machinery.

    After watching the people I knew in the movie, I realized to my dismay that I lacked the yellow-green, brown, violet and scarlet.
    How can you draw complex graphics without?
    I quickly took care of it…

  27. Yes, I love chalk.

  28. I just realised i want to eat that chalk

  29. I think this is the biggest scale of a placebo effect I have ever seen

  30. It’s safe to say none of these men have lost their virginity!

  31. GRRRRRR, GRRRRRRR, GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! I f**king hate math!!!

  32. "the value is in using it up, not holding it"
    Well Said Mr mathematician

  33. Now you can buy it from Amazon.

  34. these math teachers use chalk and put lots of effort mine give you a page to do a textbook and just mess around on their computer

  35. Legend has it that you die before using all your chalk

  36. On April Fools Day, I would exchange all the chalk in the professors boxes for regular chalk 😂

  37. Got on YouTube trying to watch car repair videos. Now I’m on a plane flying to Korea to get boxes of chalk.

  38. man after reading why the company closed shop its sad

  39. The white powder for their quadratic dreams

  40. Fuck chalk I have flex seal

  41. Crazy how something as simple as chalk can have such a cult following.

  42. Can someone tell them there are white beards now…

  43. 1:12 when the prostitute take off with your wallet

  44. Hagoromo otutsuki use to write from this chalk

  45. You can buy these on amazon lol

  46. markers people, easy to clean a board, smooth as fuck, way less cleaning word and way more tidy, clean hands, clean clothes, these bitches are good at math but very unlogical tho.

  47. Imagine robbing a house just for some chalk

  48. Bunch of fricking weirdos who watched “Good Will Hunting” too many times

  49. Bro in africa we only uses chalk we do even eat chalk

  50. Thing is our school doesnt use chalk anymore 🙁

  51. Tf does any of those symbols even mean

  52. My brain cells cant withstand this

  53. So no white boards, smart boards, or even a computer program?

  54. Nerds 🤦‍♂️

  55. Everybody else: …
    Mathematicians: I must have that chalk for myself!
    Mukbang youtubers: I wonder how that would taste like! xD

  56. Mathematicians Hypebeast item

  57. I wanna snap then all and see one of their reactions

  58. i snorted chalk powder and overdosed

  59. The most gangsta teachers has these chalk

  60. i hate chalk even watching these guys and girls writing with it makes me want to chop off my ears with chainsaws.

  61. Only the Japanese could make something as humble as the chalks into a treasured commodity.

  62. Wrong. They’re using the chalk in rituals to summon the dark lord parabola into our dimensional plane

  63. 2019:

    Mathematicians are now fighting over the last box of expo markers

  64. Ehh mark > chalk for me cuz chalk makes your hands dusty and your nails feels like shit

  65. Japanese really makes simple things to better things 0:46


  67. i wish this was 3 hours long

  68. This is just a big add

  69. I have a hard time believing it’s better than good white board makers

  70. I eat chalk to stop heartburn

  71. So he can snort it

  72. we nEEd cOMMUNISM!

  73. I won't lie even if you don't know jack shit about Chalk like me you can still feel the difference between a Good Chalk and a bad one

  74. You can buy it on amazon now

  75. 0:41 or you can you know TRAVEL TO JAPAN AND BUY IT YOURSELF

  76. watches video
    continues to use white board markers

  77. The only reason ppl learn calculus is to teach it

  78. "The best value is using it, not hoarding it"

  79. Hogeromo is a god in naruto

  80. This is how many times they said chalk.

  81. "what you do for living?"
    Collecting Chalk

  82. That chalk is just frozen cocaine that is the reason they are addicted to it

  83. And my math teacher writes like this:
    mãťhęmâțįćàľ přøbľęm ņűmbēř őńě

  84. Yeah I don’t like math.

  85. Ever done a line of chalk?

  86. Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Theres always an Asian better than u

  87. just another gimmick stupid fad from smart people.

  88. Lets chalk about chalk

  89. 1:13 "everybody say ___ , ______"

  90. My strange addiction: Chalk

  91. You know? We have better chalk than you do in the states.

    How hilarious would it be to hear that!

  92. Did anyone else get to this video from

  93. So…….did the company ran out or do they still make the chalk ???

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