Autumn 2002 / Life on Campus
Great Twisted Minds

Student Aidan Koper wows audience on Letterman

Who is 23 years old, can fit through a tennis racket and bears an uncanny resemblance to British comedian and rubberman Mr. Bean? Answer: Aidan Koper.

Aidan Koper

Aidan Koper

Koper, now in his fourth year of a double major in astrophysics and mathematics at U of T, performed a “stupid human trick” on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman last May. With musical accompaniment by Letterman’s sidekick – and U of T alumnus – Paul Shaffer (BA 1971 UC), Koper nudged and twisted his entire body through a stringless tennis racket while juggling two balls with his free arm.

And his talents didn’t go unnoticed by another Letterman guest, actress Natalie Portman, who was there promoting the latest Star Wars film. Later in the show, when Letterman asked Portman if she was seeing anyone, she answered no, but she thought the astrophysicist was cute. “He can jump through a tennis racket for me any day,” she said.

Watch Aidan Koper on Late Show with David Letterman

Koper, who also eats fire and can balance bicycles and chairs on his face, spent much of the summer performing tricks at busker festivals across the country. He says he has noticed many like-minded people in the trade. “A surprising proportion of good jugglers are also mathematicians or engineers or something like that. Just something I’ve noticed,” he says matter-of-factly. “I think the mathematical part of the mind is also responsible for motor control and makes you able to juggle.”

Reader Comments

# 1
Posted by Scott Anderson on March 29th, 2009 @ 10:52 am

Contortionist and incipient astrophysicist/mathematician Aidan Koper suggests that what he can do with his body – simultaneously putting his shoulders through a stringless racket while juggling two balls with his free hand – may be typical of mathematicians. I don’t remember Albert Einstein ever being able to do this. However, maybe Mr. Koper could be persuaded to give the rest of us a few tips on how to make both ends meet in a sputtering economy.

Geoff Rytell
BEd 1975

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