Timeless Triumph of Mathematics: Dr Anders Gustavsson

by Susanah Cheok

Meet Benedict Teo, Ong Ker-Shing and Dr. Anders Gustavsson, 3 personalities, who encapsulate the subtle, time-honored horological craftsmanship of A. Lange & Söhne in what they do, and who also embrace Lange’s philosophy of Never Standing Still. 

Lebanese poet-philosopher Kahlil Gibran believed that work, and therefore craft, is inseparable from love. He said, “Work is love made visible… For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half a man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.”

In the same way, a bona fide craftsman does what he loves and therefore loves what he does. And even though, in a very broad sense, everyone can be a craftsman, and we all craft in one way or another in our lives every day, does what we build and spin truly have lasting power, leave a legacy, and make the world better?

At Lange, where sincere dedication shapes the brand, a sort of pure passion that makes them strive for perfection day after day, it is about perpetually looking for a better solution, even though a compelling one has already been found.

The commitment to perfection even in the minutest detail is Lange’s time-tested unique selling point. This is manifested in the matchless movement of an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece. Its specific type of finissage, seen or not, must comply with the brand’s rigorous artisanal and aesthetic standards.

In authentic A. Lange & Söhne craftsmanship, it takes several months of rigorous practice to achieve a flat polished finish for every timepiece, while in the art of chamfering, great pains are taken to ensure that the edges are not only bevelled to the same angle, but also to the same width. Lange’s special type of finish, reserved for the balance cock, and the exquisite Lange-style floral pattern engraving, also make each Lange watch distinctive. Every A. Lange & Söhne watch is lavished with the same degree of attention – whether it is a sophisticated complication or a classic three-hand timepiece. All processes and procedures needed to create each horological wonder, are focused on breaking innovation barriers and realising new possibilities in watch-making.

True craft, after all, is a journey that both celebrates joys and achievements, as well as overcomes challenges and upheavals; true craft is about evolution and never standing still.

Timeless Triumph of Mathematics

As far as clichés go, Dr. Anders Gustavsson could not be less of one. The 47-year-old new father may live and breathe mathematical formulas and teaching them for the most part, but right now, for him and his wife, life also revolves around “our super-cute 4-month-old daughter. Other than that, I play bass in a hard rock band, I enjoy riding my motorbike to work, and when time allows, drinking craft beers and playing table top role-playing games with my wife and our friends.”

Dr. Anders’ surfer’s mane and laid-back demeanor are just two more of the Math fan’s out-of-the-box qualities.  He says, “In University, I set out to be a physicist, but along the way I ended up more attracted by the ideas and logical reasoning of maths. There really is a beauty to maths.”

The beauty of never elapsing or becoming a dated subject, for one. “I’m not a great mathematician and my contribution is small, but what makes maths special is that the mathematical discoveries we make do not expire. Pythagoras’ theorem is no less true today than it was when it was discovered. The contributions made by mathematicians, big and small, all contribute to this huge construction of ideas that we call maths.”   

Never Standing Still

In the area of mathematics education, Dr. Anders is currently researching if team-based learning is effective in teaching mathematics reasoning and improving examination scores. “Doing research is by definition to not stand still,” explains the numbers craftsman. By virtue of acquiring knowledge through study and exploration, Dr. Anders is never at the same point in his learnings.

Dr. Anders may have evolved like most other professional mathematicians today: going through graduate studies, obtaining a PhD, achieving post-doctorate qualifications, temporary teaching positions and now a faculty teaching position, but he cites the privilege of teaching some of the brightest and funniest students at NTU (from the CN Yang and the Renaissance Engineering scholars programmes), as a deeply fulfilling way to develop his craft. “Their commitment has encouraged me to evolve the way I teach and that is where my focus lies right now,” he says. It is being versatile in his teaching methods and in honing how he relates to his scholar students that keep him constantly on his toes and always in motion.


This feature is produced in collaboration with  A. Lange & Söhne. Artwork by Curatedition, all rights reserved.


Related links:

Shaping the World Through Imagination and Invention: Ong Ker-Shing

Empowering by Advocacy: Benedict Teo

A. Lange & Söhne: Perfect 10 on 25



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