# 16-year-old's equations set off buzz over 325-year-old physics puzzler

Jugend Forscht

Sixteen-year-old Shouryya Ray, a student from Dresden who was born in Calcutta, submitted a paper proposing analytical solutions to two problems in particle dynamics.

A research paper that claims to fill in a gap in Isaac Newton's formulas for the physics of falling objects has drawn worldwide attention to a 16-year-old student in Germany, but physicists are reserving judgment until they've seen the proof.

The focus of the buzz is Shouryya Ray, an Indian-born student who won second prize this month in the math and informatics category for Germany's Jugend Forscht student science competition. Ray tackled a couple of longstanding puzzlers for physics students: How do you account for air resistance in calculating the trajectory of ball thrown out at an angle? And precisely how does a ball thrown against the wall rebound?

The first question relates to Newton's law of universal gravitation: In his Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, Newton laid out how a gravitational field would affect a thrown object — but he didn't account for the effect of air resistance. Through the centuries, physicists have used numerical approximations to take drag into account, and when computers come into play, those approximations can be incredibly precise. But Ray said he wanted to come up with a set of formulas that could calculate the effect directly, even though his instructors said that had never been done.

"I asked myself: Why can't it work?" he told the German newspaper Die Welt.

That's what Ray tried to do in his prize-winning paper, titled "Analytical Solution of Two Fundamental Unsolved Problems of Particle Dynamics" ("Analytische Lösung von zwei ungelösten fundamentalen Partikeldynamikproblemen"). In addition to the falling-ball problem, Ray took on a puzzler of more recent vintage, having to do with the description of a particle's collision with a wall, as described by 19th-century theory. But it was the "kid-trumps-Newton" angle that really stirred up a buzz.

Die Welt's report came early in the game: The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times of London picked up the story, adding to the sensation. The idea that a teenager could figure out something that Newton didn't is irresistible — particularly when the teen is an immigrant from Calcutta who says he's no genius. But the story just sparked more questions among inquiring minds in such online hangouts as Physics ForumSlashdot and Reddit: What exactly did Ray do? And were these problems really such mysteries to solve?

That's a challenge, because Ray's paper was a school project submitted for a contest, and thus not subject to the publication process and peer review that professional work typically goes through. For that reason, the experts are reluctant to weigh in.

"This story seems rather suspicious," Richard Fitzpatrick, a physicist at the University of Texas in Austin, told me in an email. "None of the news reports give any details of the calculation. None of the people who hailed Shouryya Ray as a genius are scientists, and none of them give the impression that they have seen the calculation in question. It is impossible to gauge the scientific merit of the calculation until it is made public."

Syracuse University physicist Simon Catterall said in an email that calculating the trajectories of falling objects hadn't been seen as a particularly grand puzzle of physics. "The background given in the article seems genuine enough, so it may indeed be true, but I haven't heard anything about a new solution to a Newtonian problem on the grapevine," he told me.

Based on what's come out about the work so far, the consensus seems to be that Ray has done amazing work for his age — and if he had to choose between his passion for science and his passion for soccer, he'd be well-advised to pick math and physics. His paper putting forth an "analytical solution to two fundamental unsolved problems" may not be the breakthrough that some of the reports have made it out to be, but that doesn't take anything away from the teenager's achievement.

"What Ray has worked out, almost certainly independently, would definitely put him in the 99th percentile amongst his peers and maybe even more," one Redditor observed.

By the way, the first-place winner in the math and informatics category, Julius Kunze, wrote a paper on relativistic ray tracing. But that's a different story...

Update for 5 p.m. ET: Other experts on Newtonian physics have replied to my follow-up queries via email:

Oxford University physicist James Binney: "Doesn't sound too interesting to me. The resistance of air to the ball won't be susceptible to simple analytic formulae — if the ball is of ordinary size, [greater than a centimeter] radius — the flow around it will be in the high Reynolds-number regime and involve a thin boundary layer. Such flows were extensively studied from the last part of the 19th century, so it's true that they lie beyond Newton's knowledge. A good approximation will be to take the drag force as pi r^2 rho v^2, where r is the radius of the ball, v its speed and rho the density of air. I'm unaware of a puzzle regarding bouncing balls. In detail the bounce will depend on the physical properties of the ball — as any squash player knows. Usually one adopts a coefficient of restitution. To be impressed we need to know details."

University of Bristol physicist Michael Berry: "Without seeing the details of what Ray has claimed, it's impossible to comment intelligently. It depends crucially on how he has modeled the air resistance. But a falling body with air resistance (however modeled) is hardly a 'fundamental unsolved problem,' as he seems to think. There's a powerful aroma of hype."

Alan Boyle is msnbc.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter or adding Cosmic Log's Google+ page to your circle. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for other worlds.

# Discuss this post

JamesYoung76 Comment collapsed by the community

If you hooked up a test where a ball is thrown with various wind resistences and plugged it into the program 'Eureka.' It would come up with this formula for you. This is not impressive.

#1 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:04 PM EDT

Well yes, and that's exactly what has been done through the years to make these types of calculations accurately. What this boy has attempted though, is to develop a universal equation that can be used in all situations, with all types of air densities, so that the results can be calculated accurately ahead of time, without the need for post experimental calculations or adjustments.

#1.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:33 PM EDT

Which for most of us is just out of our realm of understanding. He is a very intelligent young man and will go far in the scientific field and maybe become one of the worlds leading scientists.

#1.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:36 PM EDT

RE: "What this boy has attempted though, is to develop a universal equation that can be used in all situations, with all types of air densities, so that the results can be calculated accurately ahead of time, without the need for post experimental calculations or adjustments."

It seems to me that not only would the variables in the equation have to include air density but it would have to take into account the relative humidity as well. I only say this because anyone that has hit a baseball in Denver, CO or Phoenix, AZ knows that they carry differently than a ball hit in Cleveland, OH or Miami, FL.

Also does anyone know if the ambient air temperatures effect on air density and humidity is Linear (proportional) or not? This might make it easier if it is.

#1.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:57 PM EDT
Angel Rosas Comment collapsed by the community

Why bother to figure this out?! I am sure there must be an App for that. The answer is in iTunes for your iPhone :)

#1.4 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:03 PM EDT

I'm afraid that he tossed in some coefficients of friction, that are the basis of successive approximations, that we already use. Impressive, for a 16 year old, but not a breakthrough.

• 1 vote
#1.5 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:09 PM EDT

It might not be a breakthrough... but... He's a 16y/o.

I live and work in the technical field and have technical-minded colleagues that do good work who cannot come close to this kind of math.

If he's this far at 16 and came up with this math on his own, imagine what he might come out with when hes 30 or 45+. Give him a chance, folks.

#1.6 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:24 PM EDT

Howard-

Temperature has no correlation to humidity. Water vapor can be quite variable. Temperature and humidity are related by dew point, which relates to the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at a given temperature. Temperature does have an inverse proportional relationship to density. This is from Charles' law relating temperature of a gas to its volume, which is a very important component of density. As the temperature increases, the volume of the gas increases thereby causing the same mass of gas to occupy more space and therefore result in a lower density. Charles' law is predicated on the fact that the pressure is kept constant. Our atmosphere however does not have a constant pressure.

One interesting thing that Newton understood, is that humid air is less dense than drier air. This is because of a few other laws of physics. Avogadro's law and Dalton's law, which tell us that water vapor molecules occupy some of the space that atmospheric particles would normally occupy. Water molecules have a molecular mass of 18.02 amu, whereas N2, & O2 molecules (99% of the atmosphere) have molecular masses of 28.02 amu and 32.00 amu respectively. Since these heavier molecules are displaced by lighter water molecules, but still taking up the same volume, the density is lower.

Most homerun hitters in baseball know this as well, since the air isn't as "thick" on muggy days the ball tends to carry further.

#1.7 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:40 PM EDT

The article says this kid took 2nd in the competition. My question is, "what did the kid who took 1st come up with"?

#1.8 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:45 PM EDT

So James Young, where's your Physics PhD, hmmmmmm?

#1.9 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:53 PM EDT

HaHaHa. Thanks Howard, I some how missed the last line of the article. Relativistic ray tracing, Einstein over Newton all over again.

#1.10 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:54 PM EDT

If he's this far at 16 and came up with this math on his own, imagine what he might come out with when hes 30 or 45+. Give him a chance, folks.

Newton came up with the equation. He just fleshed out a neglected variable.

No doubt. Give him a chance.

#1.11 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:54 PM EDT

Look at it this way, this young man is 16 years old. He may not have hit the nail directly on the head, but has a better grasp on it than most people do. If he can figure things like this out at 16, imagine what he will come up with in the future.

He claims not to be a genius in the article and he might not be, but that has very little to do with determination. If he is determined to figure out things that, he probably will.

Young people like this need to be supported in their efforts, not told that it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Children are the future, and need the education and support to find the next steps in what was figured out before. And he is working on something that has perplexed many people for hundreds of years.

How many of them have furthered anything in science?

My guess is that you could count them on your fingers.

I wish this young man well. Just because what he came up with does not impress everyone, does not mean that is is wrong, or on the wrong track. It just means that he wants to figure it out.

How many people can say that?

#1.12 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:59 PM EDT

Why did he only win second????

#1.13 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:00 PM EDT
GeneralEclectic Comment collapsed by the community

ZZZZzzzz. The Navy (all of them, Brits, Germans, Japs, US, and others, actually) figured out how to drop a 15" shell into a 20' circle at 20,000 yards in the early 20th century. From a moving platform, no less. And you can be pretty sure that air properties varied throughout the shell's trajectory, not to mention winds.

Sorry, kid. This ain't even close to rocket science.

The real problem with trying to reduce this to a "forumla" is that the "solution" is pointless. Air properties vary continuously and randomly. You'd need to know those properties at every instant of the projectile's flight, making this unsuitable for anything but piecewise solutions.

Maybe he'd be better off taking on the problem of unsustainable population growth rates.

#1.14 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:18 PM EDT

He won second because it says the first place kid wrote a paper on Relativistic Ray Tracing, something much more current, dealing with Einstein's theory of relativity.

#1.15 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:20 PM EDT

Please James, explain to us your math credentials? 2 years at a community college won't cut it though.

#1.16 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:41 PM EDT

howard44024

Also does anyone know if the ambient air temperatures effect on air density and humidity is Linear (proportional) or not? This might make it easier if it is.

Ask a pilot, or aviation weather type, to borrow their E6B. Yes there is a app as well.. The simplest measure however is to set your barometer to 29.92 and read the altitude. That will give density altitude. No math necessary.

• 1 vote
#1.17 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:47 PM EDT

Wow, the worlds' scientists were immediately bitter and dismissive like that professor on "Good Will Hunting" and the comments are echoing the same sentiment. Maybe smart kids should just shut up and do and say nothing, that way they wont have to be ridiculed by idiots that think they no something about science.

#1.18 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:59 PM EDT

The Navy ... figured out how to drop a 15" shell into a 20' circle at 20,000 yards in the early 20th century.

Through trial-and-error. If this formula proves correct it will save time and money for the navy. While there are cases where some air properties are negligible there will also be times where air properties are significant. Your example of the navy projectile may be good enough for "large" targets where close is good enough. But how about a smaller projectile where precision make a significant difference - say sniping.

#1.19 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:04 PM EDT

Of course it couldn't be a U.S. born student who started buzzing everybody. The U.S. currently ranks 25th in math out of 34 developed countries. This rank comes from the recent PISA study done on 15 year olds. They were tested in math, reading, and science. We ranked 14th in reading, and 17th in science.

But really, why would anyone want to write about the air resistance of a ball, or exactly how a ball rebounds off the wall? Why would you want to do that?

#1.20 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:39 PM EDT

The immediate, practical impact of this young man's work may be slight. As the article points out, scientists have used very precise approximations for the atmospheric drag coefficient.

But, it still strikes my unlearned mind as rather clever bit of work for one so young.

#1.21 - Mon May 28, 2012 5:13 PM EDT

In any case this kid will make more money than most adults do in a lifetime before he turns 21

#1.22 - Mon May 28, 2012 5:53 PM EDT

What a wonderful kid! How enlightening that this boy is using his brain to advance mathematics and physics, instead of letting it fall into those pest holes of video games and meaningless internet drivel. Many congratulations to him. Keep up the good work.

If the rest of the world's population would use 1/10 of this young man's brain power, we might be able to solve some of the more pressing problems we encounter. We could make it a much better place to live. Best wishes to him in his efforts.

#1.23 - Mon May 28, 2012 6:00 PM EDT

First off, ALL you A-holes that are tearing this kid down, please include YOUR CREDENTIALS for YOUR EXPERT opinions! (I.E. Dr. of Physics....I am Einstein, I am Newton, etc, etc, etc!!!)

Second, ALL you A-holes that are tearing this kid down, please include what your YOUR greatest accomplishment was when you were 16. (I.E. - I made a mock volcano or tornado at my high school science fair or threw water balloons at the nerdy neighbor kids - I'm being sarcastic for those "too brilliant" to notice.)

Third, this KID can't buy beer or cigarettes and you twerps are hounding Shouryya Ray, a 16 year old "student who won second prize this month in the math and informatics category for Germany's Jugend Forscht student science competition. Ray tackled a couple of longstanding puzzlers for physics students: How do you account for air resistance in calculating the trajectory of ball thrown out at an angle? And precisely how does a ball thrown against the wall rebound?"

Are you dumb-butt's kidding me???? REALLY!!!!! How would your 16 year old kid fair in a competition like this - if you could even get a woman to bear you a child (much less do the nasty with you).

You self-righteous, egotistical, cyber-bullies should be ashamed of yourselves!!! This kid will go much further in life than you will have done in your entire piddly lifetime or your kids (if any) for that matter!

I just wish I had his ability to understand and solve equations like that and I wish even more my daughter will have that ability when she turns 16!!!!

Jerks!

#1.24 - Mon May 28, 2012 6:50 PM EDT

I don't give the kid a chance once he discovers beer, chicks and the blues. 8-)

#1.25 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:41 PM EDT

It's amazing how similar the back stabbing, jealousy, and snobbery of modern academia so closely resembles modern day politics. This young man has obviously done something incredible for his age, but the scientific community won't accept it because they did not have a hand in it.

#1.26 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:30 PM EDT

The Donna: I'd vote for you twice if I could.

#1.27 - Mon May 28, 2012 9:33 PM EDT

BIKER DUDE ***** Take my word for it!!! At sixteen, the kid already knows about beer, chicks and blues. Wonder if they know over there in Germany and India what Benjamin Franklin said about beer???

#1.28 - Mon May 28, 2012 10:07 PM EDT

Y'all realize that he was born in India, but raised in the States and grew up in our schools.

I say "good job" and have high hopes for you in the future.

As for why he did it, for all you that think it is pointless, well I imagine he did it for the same reasons Newton did the work he did, because he wanted to know, he was curious.

#1.29 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:08 PM EDT

The problem I have is the resistance isn't constantly the same and is a variable which means there can not be 1 formula that solves all.

#1.30 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:54 PM EDT

This is a good example of why I always say that if the world didn't suffer any wars during the last 500-1000 years most, if not all, scientific problems would have been solved by now.

It's sad to think that many geniuses have been prematurely killed in so many useless and bogus wars all throughout the world. Africa, for example, it's going through its worst time in its history with millions upon millions of people slaughtered during the last 10-15 years. The most number of people killed since WW2, and hardly anyone is paying any attention to it.

Imagine all the talent that has been wasted away over there and that could have helped the world move along.

If people who have the power to start wars really care about themselves and the well-being of their families and friends they should think twice before they start killing people who, in the end, might help them live a longer and more prosperous life.

#1.31 - Tue May 29, 2012 5:42 AM EDT

Don Lester, y'all realize that he was born in India, but raised in Germany, and grew up in their schools. Try reading the article in it's entirety next time!

#1.32 - Tue May 29, 2012 11:47 AM EDT

A thoughtful 16-year old kid contemplates an air-resistance modification to Newton's Universal Gravitation equation... Meanwhile, high school kids all over 'merka turn to their clueless friend in physics lecture: "dude... smell my finger..." and post videos on YouTube of dinner franks getting violently cooked with the direct application of 120 Volt AC...

#1.33 - Tue May 29, 2012 1:20 PM EDT

James, your ideology is the reason we as a country suck a math on the world stage. "If a computer can do it, who cares; not impressive"

Moose, it has other applications. It mentioned in the article that if this proves our to be true it could lead to improvements in particle physics:

having to do with the description of a particle's collision with a wall

#1.34 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

"Einstein over Newton all over again." They both use "mass" which is why they are both wrong about gravity as we will hopefully find out here. If only we do not kill ourselves off or have another world war due to overpopulation, lack of food/water, or "money" that we as humans create... If only more people understood basic math/physics they would understand that you cannot get something from nothing. In a closed system investments and savings must lose value over time, that is unless you want to force the government to print more/extra money to infinity.

There cannot be infinite potentials and we need potentials to perform "work". According to the law of entropy potentials will degrade or lose magnitude over time. There must be someway to rebuild the lost potentials. There is a reason all the matter in the universe was in one spot at one time (Big Bang).

(Yes I have my own Grand Unified Theory of Everything using sterile neutrinos and it was the reason for me making this account. There is a "ground", zero energy, zero spin state that we as beings possessing energy, spin, motion cannot see since we are referenced to it. Sterile neutrinos do still exist and take up space even if they cannot be measured easily in that state. However once I figured the universe out (kind of), I became aware of the higher truths. How small and insignificant I am as a person versus the universe. How selfish I and other humans were. We are all alone in the middle of nowhere. You think we as humans would take better care of each other and fight/compete less. You wonder why I get mad at people...)

I did ray tracing back when I was 16, but just the standard stuff. I find it amazing that it can be done in real time now, when it used to take an hour or so to make one picture/frame depending on res., # of light sources, # objects, type of surfaces, etc. Keep up the good work all.

#1.35 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:47 PM EDT

Wow there's a lot of hate and giant egos on here. I agree with the above post about it not being a breakthrough but yes, give him a chance. Don't stomp him down.

#1.36 - Wed May 30, 2012 9:04 AM EDT

Meanwhile, some American kid just set another record for text messages sent in a month.

#2 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:09 PM EDT

so sad... and yet so true......

#2.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

Meanwhile, some American kid just came up with a with the pseudo code for a complex derivative that will net JP Morgan an extra 2 billion next quarter.

It's not that we don't have them. They just go out for the big bucks instead of pure science. The kids that go to Wall Street are often brilliant. They just have no moral compass.

#2.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:57 PM EDT

It's not that we don't have them. They just go out for the big bucks instead of pure science. The kids that go to Wall Street are often brilliant. They just have no moral compass.

Greed is the moral compass of wall street. They even attempt to justify the greed via religion.

#2.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:11 PM EDT

So true. If you're smart with a scientific background and work on Wall Street, just note that I have more respect for the university janitor than for you.

#2.4 - Mon May 28, 2012 5:54 PM EDT

Greed has a moral compass that's religious? Oh yeah, I forgot. They call it tithing!
Nothing new there. Religion has always been willing to forgive any sin, for the right price!

#2.5 - Mon May 28, 2012 6:16 PM EDT

I don't think the real number crunchers at wall street are greedy.

I have worked with some of them and most are so far deep into the science and the math of it that i am not even sure they are aware of the real life implication of what they do.

They are simply fascinated by the sheer math of it all. Think professor Nash in beautiful mind.

But your diagnosis is correct. With the cost of education being so high in US, most brilliant kids end up in a career in finance or law - where they could make the maximum amount of money in the least amount of time.

An Engineering or applied physics education costs hundreds of thousands of dollars here and at the end of it you can get a job that pays 80K a year. Who'd want that ? On the other side of the world India and China are heavily subsidizing their engineering and science students. We have got to start subsidizing higher education in the field of science and engineering or we are truly screwed.

#2.6 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:38 PM EDT

So, who is the first prize winner, Einstein, Jr.???? I am sure, the usual German racism is at play here. Those Europeans are all the same. Look at Mahatma Gandhi---who prevented civil wars on three continents.(Both Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela got their ideas from him) You would think, if anyone deserved the Nobel prize for peace, it would be Gandhi. Of course, he was as above such a prize as the stars are above the Earth.....there are Indians both today and hundreds of years ago, who never got credit for their achievements. Take the number zero, and other numerals. The Arabs stole it from the Indians. Yet, even today, they are falsely called Arabic numerals.

#2.7 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:10 PM EDT

Here we go again (and I'm sure "The Community" will collapse THIS comment). What is wrong with JamesYoung76's comment? It's just a general comment. No cursing, no put-downs, no vulgar language. What's up with that?????

#2.8 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:31 PM EDT

Wiseone - First prize winner is a student who wrote a paper related to general relativity. Surely relativity trumps classical mechanics. No ?

No need to bring race into it.

#2.9 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:44 PM EDT

1/2 +1/3-1/8 was presented to 52 tenth grade students in NC. More than half could not evaluate and arrive to a solution without a calculator.

I watched students fumble trying to figure -2+2 without a calculator. When asked to show -2-2 on a number line 60% of the students simply had trouble. There is nothing wrong with the children. It is a bad education policy, administration, parents and few bad teachers that have crippled US competitiveness in the world stage.

#2.10 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:04 PM EDT

I will not make a comment until I see his paper. The formula I am looking at does not mean much without the details. There are two things to consider in here. From physical point of view he must have established justification. From mathematical point of view proof must be presented. I hope his paper will be made available through University libraries.

#2.11 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:15 PM EDT

I am sure, the usual German racism is at play here. Those Europeans are all the same.

"wiseone"? More like Generalizing, racist moron. Way to keep those facts tightly wound around your little skewed, one-sided point of view.

#2.12 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:58 PM EDT

Take the number zero, and other numerals. The Arabs stole it from the Indians. Yet, even today, they are falsely called Arabic numerals.

Where's your proof? I thought so...

#2.13 - Tue May 29, 2012 12:57 AM EDT
Christian missionary Comment collapsed by the community

Actually the reason for our failure in our education system, is from the origin of our education process, and what is being taught! Go read: The Deliberate Dumbing of America, by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. It is a free download. She is a whistle blower, and will show Thru her extensive research what has been going on in the classroom, for the last 60-70 years! If you truely want to know why our students never score very high in international competition involving math, science, physics, history. Then go read her book, you will become angry, and realize that she spilled the beans, a long time ago, and nobody is going to do anything about it within our federal government! It is planned for a reason! Heres one example, how many Americans have been hoodwinked by what occurred on 911? Many are some dumbed down, they do not have a clue on that day, that three steel buildings fall down by fire, airplanes! An aluminum airplane hits a steel building and the steel building falls at the rate of gravity!

#2.14 - Tue May 29, 2012 1:10 AM EDT

Priceless. Good one.

• 1 vote
#2.15 - Tue May 29, 2012 1:10 AM EDT

5/8

#2.16 - Tue May 29, 2012 4:41 AM EDT

17/24

#2.17 - Tue May 29, 2012 6:35 AM EDT

answer to 1/2 + 1/3 - 1/8 = 17/24 no calculator LCD

#2.18 - Tue May 29, 2012 6:53 AM EDT

Michael - LOL ...where is your proof ...hahaha

Anybody who knows anything about the origin and history of mathematics knows fully well that all of it originated in India. Just google for your proof.

#2.19 - Tue May 29, 2012 7:14 AM EDT

A student writes a paper based on the information given. He sets out to answer a question for himself and is successful. Critics from the "Community" set out to dissolve this new entity who is upstarting them and they are COMPELLED!!

Pathetic. Let him have his win and his day.

#2.20 - Tue May 29, 2012 10:14 AM EDT

A 3 yo just learned how to change his pullups all by himself.

:)

He's a genius fer shur...

#2.21 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:19 PM EDT

hmmmm....does the phrase "cold fusion" ring any bells?

• 1 vote
#2.22 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:53 PM EDT

"Take the number zero, and other numerals. The Arabs stole it from the Indians. Yet, even today, they are falsely called Arabic numerals."

Funny, I always learned it, from day one, as 'Hindu-Arabic' numerals. India always got appropriate credit for the concept of zero, in every source I ever read.

And the concept of 'zero' was a tough one for people to wrap their minds around back then, even though we completely understand its value as a place holder (among other things) today. It was a very valuable thing in itself, not merely another 'number.'

#2.23 - Tue May 29, 2012 7:37 PM EDT

Frank Glover - This from Wikipedia -

Here is another source that is just a blogpost but it has interesting references than can be further checked should you be so inclined -

#2.24 - Tue May 29, 2012 10:13 PM EDT

"The idea that a teenager could figure out something that Newton didn't is irresistible"

Not if Newton didn't even try, which is true. Newton was concerned with theoretical physics, not practical applications. Accounting for air resistance would have to be very cumbersome, since you would also have to account for air density, temperature, humidity, etc. I suspect his 'solution' is very limited.

A far greater issue is that Newton was actually wrong in many of his formulas, as Einstein proved - That is a real example of GENIUS. Even today, very few people understand Einstein's equations, even though they have been proven over and over again.

Ironically, Einstein did not get his Nobel Prize for his most fundamental and amazing discovery of Relativity (both Special and General), but for his contributions to Quantum Theory (which has had far more practical benefits).

I often wonder if we could extract some of their DNA and replicate them with cloning techniques.

#2.25 - Wed May 30, 2012 10:23 PM EDT

Yes, scientists and mathematicians are still trying to disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity which is probably the reason he didn't get the Nobel for this work. Ironically, geniuses are typically considered crazy when the publicize new discoveries that are contrary to popular belief, until it is proven time and time again. Stick with it kid!

#2.26 - Sun Jun 3, 2012 12:21 PM EDT

Speaking of the grapevine as someone in the article mentioned, those seem to be very sour grapes on that vine, indeed. I hope these sour mouthed mediocrities doing their best to poop on this kid mature at some point and understand that science is not about them making a 'name' for themselves, but in adding a bit more to the small island of understanding we have collected which supports us all above the level of simple prey for predators other than our own cospecifics. Apparently they do not trust their own colleagues who judged this competition. Again, science does not accept results based on hearsay, but the comments from the 'professionals' reported in this article have a negative quality and tone that suggests more ego than intellect. He's SIXTEEN, guys. If he's at this point now, just entering the mathematician's most productive age, we may be fortunate to watch a new star rise in our midst and frying 'professional' egos all over while opening those new doors that are light and warmth to the real scientist.

In regard to old uncle Albert (he abandoned his wife and children and married his young 1st cousin whom he was already ... ?), a brilliant mathematician, no doubt, albeit dissing the quantum worldview ("God does not play dice with the world"). He was a sluggard until he met Mileva MariÄ, the only woman in his class and to be there at that time as a woman, probably brighter than anyone else in the place. As women often do for men, she expanded Albert's consciousness and led him into the areas that he is now famous for. One of the 'proofs' that she had no influence on him is that in all of their 'surviving' correspondence, there are few if any references to physics. For two people so intimately involved in a common area, this seems a bit odd if not bizarre. Another 'proof' is that she failed her math exam in 1900. She is denied any recognition in collaboration with Big Al but I suspect that, without her, Al would have found himself at some dusty gymnasium or a junior patent examiner, a brilliant calculator bereft of any ideas worth calculating. It was probably her nonmathematical insight and fuzzy thinking that gave Al what he needed to become Big Al. When he ran from the Nazis to America, he left her and his two Jewish sons, one of whom was schizophrenic, behind to deal with life as it was at that time in Europe. After he left her, his 'brilliance' dimmed considerably. No one has explained what happened to their first out-of-wedlock child, Lieserl, who completely disappears from the story her first year on planet. Yes, a brilliant mathematician. And not much else. Except hype.

#2.27 - Sun Jun 3, 2012 1:58 PM EDT
Agasg Asgatrvia Facebook Comment collapsed by the community

what about his paper on the virtues of sharia law?

#3 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:14 PM EDT

Hey bigot,

Indian born...not muslim, probably more like Shiva law

#3.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:34 PM EDT

Please crawl back into the cave you came from. Obviously you have no idea about the religious diversities that exist in Asia. This boy could very well be a Christian for all you know.

#3.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

Do you just have to post comments that make you look uneducated and bigoted?

#3.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:37 PM EDT

@Agasg

I think even Kanye West would refer to you as a "JACKA\$\$" I'm sure Pres. Obama would !

At least Kanye has talent to fall back on

#3.4 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:00 PM EDT

He's just trolling, trolls are just screaming out loud for attention. It is lacking in their lives so they feel something controversial gets them the attention the crave so intensely. Don's gve him the attention he seems to need by falling for it.

#3.5 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:08 PM EDT

@Russell,

"It" must be a professional as most of its posts are obnoxious.

#3.6 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:20 PM EDT

Agasg: What does sharia Law have to do with mathematics?

#3.7 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:24 PM EDT

What about getting a life, staying on topic with the article, and shutting your piehole about the values of sharia law and being kind to the kid for bringing new life into one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time, Agasg Asagtr? Seriously, either stay on topic or get the taste smacked out of your mouth, boy. Also, as for the guy that talked smack about video games, I'm not only a gamer but I also have a healthy respect for science (in fact, I got all As in it in high school, thank you very much), I'm a budding writer, and I have a healthy imagination, not to mention a positive and productive life and a beautiful girlfriend in real life, so know your role and shut your piehole when it comes to video games, you elitist jerk. Also, as for you OWS wannabes talking smack about religion, yes, religion can be greedy but so can anti-religion. I have proof for both cases if you wish to debate me further. While I agree that a lot of those people that are probably lackeys of the New World Order/Hidden Hand/Globalist Elite/One World Government/Matrix are on Wall Street, there are plenty of nice and honest people that are simply trying to make a buck at their job, unlike you whose only job is to talk smack to people about their jobs or them simply being wealthy.

#3.8 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:09 AM EDT

Perfect example of why we rank the way we do in education (the OP), many people have no brains and parrot back the bull@!\$%# they pick up from the crap lying in the side of the streets.

#3.9 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:19 PM EDT

Plug these equations into the latest video games physics engines for god's sake.

#4 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:22 PM EDT

#4.1 - Tue May 29, 2012 3:41 PM EDT

Most 16 year olds in the US can't spell gravitational. When did so many parents stop parenting?

#5 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:23 PM EDT

I think when television started broadcasting 24hrs a day

#5.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:30 PM EDT

Libra2u, what does that have to do with the story about this amazingly intelligent kid and the work he is doing?

#5.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:40 PM EDT

and when did teachers stop teaching?

#5.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:57 PM EDT

He's weighing the difference between them and us...I believe we have the King syndrome where most of us feel we have to put our feet up and let the rest do the work...That it why we do not try as hard some others would...Unfortunately, America has become very stupid

#5.4 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:58 PM EDT

Yes, any place that has a significant population that takes the bible literally is REALLY STUPID.

#5.5 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:08 PM EDT

@Mo-Pho: Teachers stopped teaching when the government started throwing standardized tests down their throats. Now they teach only what is needed to pass those tests and thats it. Our children will no longer be "creative" at finding new solutions. Just good test takers. Sad.

#5.6 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:17 PM EDT

Teachers still teach. Kids don't bother to learn. Video games and social activities far too important, besides, they're all entitled to good grades for some unknown reason.

#5.7 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:51 PM EDT

I'm sorry but this just isn't true.

And I am extremely tired of hearing it played over and over again in the media. I know many very bright kids who are pursuing hard sciences and graduating from some of the best Universities.

You can say many bad things about American kids but they aren't any more stupid than kids from any other culture. With the proper parenting they still excel.

#5.8 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:01 PM EDT

Mo-Pho-3508157

and when did teachers stop teaching?

When they lost control of the classroom because of parents. When I went to school, the teacher was allowed to discipline a child so if I did something in class that warranted discipline I got double when I got home. Somewhere alone the way parents started protesting then kids found out they didn't have do as the teacher demanded because their parents didn't give a damn. All the parents wanted was a babysitter to watch their kids during the day and the school board (aka politicians) wanted the parents to be happy so they would get their vote.

Just look at the school system today and tell me why teachers are being called out for a lack of teaching when their hands are tied by both the parents and the politicians.

#5.9 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:26 PM EDT

Its not like 50 years ago kids were taking more calculus in high school...

• 1 vote
#5.10 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:50 PM EDT

besides, they're all entitled to good grades for some unknown reason.

The reason is known. You wouldn't want to hurt their feelings by telling them they don't know how to solve the problem, spell, punctuate, etc.

The philosophy is that it is far better to have a child feel good about themselves by not having been corrected and be ranked 23rd internationally than to be ranked 1st or 2nd and know that the corrections received earlier helped in their learning process.

#5.11 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:11 PM EDT

Larry - You can't say that. You know it's the teachers fault. It could possibly be the responsibility of the parents to ensure their kids behave nor can you have the school boards back the teachers. So it has to be the teachers failings. After all, somebody has to be responsible.

Many years ago after a home basketball game there were 5 guys smoking weed in the locker room after the game. They were caught and turned in to the principal the next day. The principal wanted to expel them for a week and the superintendent intervened. It went to the school board. The supe and the principal went at it. The supe would allow 4 to be expelled but not the 5th - his son. "It will make me look bad." The principal said "expelling the others and not your son won't make you look bad?" The school board backed the supe because they had known him for years and this was the principal's first year. The principal told the board that they would have his resignation by the end of the day - effective the end of the academic year. Then he also said to the supe that he would be back next year - as superintendent. Then he made eye contact with each of the board members. And he was back the next year - as supe with new board members. He was one of the most respected and well liked members of the communities (local and school) because of his fairness and his vision for the school system.

#5.12 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:34 PM EDT

the school systems got the way they are currently because a few parents cried foul! I am theparent of a challenged child. she suffers from a rare genetic disorder. she is put into public school but kept seperate from the rest of the population. she learns how to deal with life on the most basic level. to this I am grateful to the school system and teachers who will take the time to help her. currently We do all we can at home. alot of parents are so hands off this day and age. I applaud all of those parents and teachers who strive to help and promote the advancement of children like this boy mentioned in the article.

#5.13 - Mon May 28, 2012 6:35 PM EDT

parents stopped parenting, and teachers stopped teaching when economics and leisure became more important to society than knowledge. Standouts like this young man give me hope for mankind, but the jealous scientists that have nothing positive to say about him should all be given walking papers. Start building people up instead of knocking them down so you can feel more important/intelligent. idiots the lot of them. I hope this kids works out how to build a warp drive and shuts the lot of them up.

#5.14 - Mon May 28, 2012 6:43 PM EDT

Teachers stopped teaching when the government started throwing standardized tests down their throats. Now they teach only what is needed to pass those tests and thats it. Our children will no longer be "creative" at finding new solutions. Just good test takers. Sad.

What you don't understand is how true this statement is. The classes that high school students take aren't going to be useful in everyday life. Take logarithms in Algebra II (a required class) have any of you used them in your daily life? NO? I didn't think so. My high school next year is going to Math I, Math II, and Math II. Why you ask? Because the state standards that won't improve our daily lives at all.

• 1 vote
#5.15 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:57 PM EDT

"Yes, any place that has a significant population that takes the bible literally is REALLY STUPID"

That's us in Africa: If it's not the BIBLE it is the KORAN and the so called religions of LOVE and PEACE have become for us the religions of HATE and WARS.

#5.16 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:34 PM EDT

Parent's not "parenting"? The teacher's fault? You all are soooo in denial! You can't accept the notion of kids that don't care about being in school, the kids who learn proper english but insist on ebonics when they speak and write. Don't blame the teachers, not at all. YOUR KIDS DON'T CARE people. Internalize it. You may as well make peace with it because neither you not I can change them or their crappy attitude. I saw it, I lived it. I actually cared and was interested in the sciences. Reading and History not so much. My profession is in electronics. See the correlation? I was interested in it and I cared. I learned it and it's been my job for 35 years. I repair medical equipment which doctors use to save people's lives every day. I contribute something to this life. Not just for myself, for the benefit of others. Who knows, I may have already touched the life of someone you know and love. Perhaps even yours. So what do YOUR kids do other than take up space? If they give a crap they too will give something back and let me tell you it is VERY SATISFYING.

• 1 vote
#5.17 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:35 PM EDT

Standouts like this young man give me hope for mankind, but the jealous scientists that have nothing positive to say about him should all be given walking papers. Start building people up instead of knocking them down so you can feel more important/intelligent. idiots the lot of them. I hope this kids works out how to build a warp drive and shuts the lot of them up.

Paul, while there are no doubt some scientists with delicate egos out there who would love to see this young man fail in any serious academic endeavors he pursues, they unfortunately do have some solid ground to stand on for the moment. That's only because the student's work wasn't published in the realm of peer-reviewed academic journals where his brilliant calculations and any assumptions/conditions they arise from could be analyzed in-depth. Without viewing his work in full, it would be jumping the gun to declare him an absolute genius with a ground-breaking answer to centuries old questions. For clarification, though, it would NOT be jumping the gun to declare that this young man has, to say the very least, an exceptional mind and drive to attempt to answer such a question. That he approached it seriously and applied himself using what he's learned both inside and outside of the classroom is both commendable and a shining example of our hope in our children to surpass our abilities to understand and master the world around us. That said, I do see a very bright future for this young man and encourage him to push the boundaries of his potential. However, I wouldn't go so far as to tear down the scientists hesitant to whole-heartedly support him without having had a chance to really look at his work, let alone suggest that they be dismissed. It'd be like signing off on a construction job based solely off of what the final product looked like, without performing your own tests and having never been present at the construction site. Sure, it looks nice and sturdy, but if you haven't spent a day on-site checking the work to make sure it was sound and haven't had a chance to run some tests, how could you really approve it with absolute confidence?

#5.18 - Mon May 28, 2012 10:23 PM EDT

I was studying basic quantum theories at age 16.

• 1 vote
#5.19 - Mon May 28, 2012 10:30 PM EDT

TomTom, thank you. As a former student and a close friend/family member of countless teachers, I have witnessed so many teachers who give everything they have to educate students. They get so frustrated when students will not put forth any effort. Students these days find it too taxing to even bring a pencil and notebook to class. There are exceptions, of course; there are still students who work hard and respect teachers. Unfortunately, they are nowhere near the majority. For some reason (or a multitude of reasons) people are unmotivated and refuse to do anything that isn't fun. I'm not sure if it's the students' fault or the parents, or a combination of both, but it is not the teachers' fault. There are some teachers who are to blame, but there are also teachers who are so FED UP with the way students behave these days that they are quitting teaching. One of the most amazing teachers I have ever had in my life is quitting teaching because she has become so tired of the laziness and entitled attitudes of the generation today.

My point is, we need to get students motivated to learn to work hard and RESPECT TEACHERS, otherwise the nation has a disappointing future ahead of us.

#5.20 - Mon May 28, 2012 10:37 PM EDT

Its ok..At the end he will end up in customer servive for HP.."Tenk you for calling customer service.!!, ken i help you tuday?

#5.21 - Mon May 28, 2012 11:20 PM EDT

Remember that old saying? "Experience is the best teacher." Well it looks like the US and it's young population need to experience what happens when you are lazy and don't care about anything but your little world that seems so important to them, NOW! Later, when the country falls behind because the rest of the world has surpassed us in technology and is making the money with all the inventions they've created, they will finally see the picture! Anyone can open stores and make new kinds of recipes, but that gets us where we are today. That just moves the money from one person to another. That doesn't create jobs of any significant value, just low paying jobs! You have to invent to create new kinds of jobs! Jobs that will pay decent and above. Then it will be too late for the US, that fate will probably end up in their children's hands. They will either step up to the plate or strike out if they are like their parents. As for finance, greed made their profession and our country collapse. They definitely didn't use their MBA's or we wouldn't be in this situation we are in now! They devil was sitting on their shoulder telling them what to do! The devil and their EGO to be Billionaires before fifty! Looks like they wont be billionaires! FOOLS!!! So what was the use of getting educated? You supposed to get educated to make SMART!!! decisions!

• 1 vote
#5.22 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:05 AM EDT

Since when was it the parents duty to teach spelling? That is the entire point of school. Seems we got some touchy feely types who had influence over the school system now they dont teach spelling or grammar but hand out condoms and pass kids that shouldnt advance because they are too afraid of getting sued.

We lost the educational fight when we lost the ability to punish the school kids. If a kid knows you are powerless to stop him/her from doing something then they logically follow the next step which is to have no respect for you anymore. Cannot teach anyone that doesnt respect you.

• 1 vote
#5.23 - Tue May 29, 2012 10:01 AM EDT

I think people should stop bashing the actual scientists that aren't "supporting" this student's theory. If you know anything about how science works, you would know that the only way to uphold your theory is to have it survive a trial by fire and if it survives it's accepted until something else comes along to disprove you. All scientific "fact" is only fact until being disproved. Unfortunately for this student, his process for his theory isn't a professional publication where people can actually look at everything and take a side. Personally, I would prefer that this student see his theory bashed so that he can refine it and then laugh in the face of everyone who didn't believe him when he comes up with a better theory.

On a side note, this is probably one of the reasons the U.S. has fallen in fields like science because everyone is afraid to hurt some kid's feelings and see them cry when that might actually be what they need to help them advance.

#5.24 - Tue May 29, 2012 12:28 PM EDT

Tom the kids do not care because the parents did not teach them proper ethics. Most of the time a kid's behavior is directly related to their parenting during their early years. There are outliers, obviously, but this is true on average. If the parents do not take schooling seriously neither will the kids. If the parents thing that public schools are leftist brainwashing machines so will their kids if that is drilled into them. Parents have a huge influence on how their kid will behave during the first 1 to 4 years as will the family environment they grow up in. Some of the time kids growing up in hostile family environments turn out to be the bullies. They become the ones that the studies linking media violence to real violence use as their case studies.

It is definitely about the parents not parenting. And yes it is also partially the Teacher's fault but not directly. It is their superiors and by extension society that value test scores over critical thinking skills that have led us here. We value regurgitation of material more then critical analyzation of topics. Instead of promoting thoughtful discussions about topics like culture, history, Government, we teach only specific major events in history without further discussing how those events took place then we test on that information and move on.

For example when I was in World History we did not discuss how WWII cam about. We heard the broad strokes about how Hitler became disenchanted with his Government but we did not learn about the events leading up to that point that turned Hitler off. We just learned the general strokes and were tested on it, no critical thinking required.

We need to move to a college-based education system and what I mean by this is that testing becomes irrelevant; still used but not to determine if we know something. Instead by have critical thinking discussions we show that we thoroughly understand the topic and can even bring new ways of looking at something to light to our fellow students and the Instructor/Teacher. You learn something much easier when you promote a deep understanding of the material. That happens at the analytical level, testing is no where near that level of a tool.

#5.25 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:39 PM EDT

Several things are amiss with our current education system.

1) Lack of disciplinary options. When it became socially unacceptable to use corporal punishment (that means "the paddle"), kids no longer had anything to fear for misbehaving. The worst the school can do is suspend or expell them, which in the child's mind is equivalent to a vacation, therefore it is perceived as a reward, and a response which is going to increase inappropriate behavior.

2) There is no consequence for not meeting standards. Student who do not do any work are passed along to the next grade level along with their peers. Sometimes this is justified in terms of "self esteem", but I hear this less often these days. Obviously, the students' self esteem is dealt a crushing blow when they arrive at high school and are expected to do algebra, when they can't even add without counting on thir fingers. The real reason for social promotion is the danger of having larger more aggressive teenagers attending school alongside smaller children. Would you want 16 year old males on the playground near your 10 year old daughter, even under the best of supervision? I didn't think so.

3) What I have referred to as the "Simpsonification" of a generation of children has led to a huge population of young Bart-boys who who believe that achieving in school is completely uncool at best, while on the other hand, young Lisa-girls are achieving at higher and higher levels.

4) There is a pervasive belief or mindset among administrators, recited so often it becomes like a mantra, that all students should be expected to meet high level standards and achieve readiness for college admission. While this is, at face value, a laudable goal, the reality is that if we were able to somehow magically achieve this, there wouldn't be enough places for them to go. College admissions are already over impacted. The goal in and of itself is absurd.

5) We need to abandon this nonsense of all students marching in lockstep chronologically matched cohorts with a one size fits all curriculum and instead utilize the versatility of modern computer technology to reach students at their level of functional ability and support their progress at their own pace towards goals which are matched to their individual aptitudes. NOT ALL STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO CALCULUS!!

6) We need to bring back hands-on shop classes and trades training and stop treating these areas as second class or less valid types of career preparation. My wife's hair dresser drives a Mercedes fer chrissakes, and I know several PhD recipients who can't even find a job in their field, much less even begin to pay off their student loans. A college education is no guarantee of anything today except a massive student loan debt.

Our schools are broken, but we have the ability to fix them. We simply must have the courage to completely remake the entire system, from kindergarten on up. It can be done but it won't be easy. Good luck America.

#5.26 - Tue May 29, 2012 3:45 PM EDT

The real question is, when did we stop valuing education?

I'm betting most of us here are science/tech 'geeks' of one kind or another. We should know, better than most, that such a thing is not as respected as it used to be...

#5.27 - Tue May 29, 2012 7:40 PM EDT

MikeyMike - Couldn't agree more!

My kids teachers when they were in 5th and 6th grade were more interested in preparing them for College than actually teaching them!

When did learning a trade become something to belittle or considered beneath us? There is only so much room for another CEO, Doctor, Dentists or Lawyer. Someone has to do the actual work!

Students from Asian countries and India excel at math and science because that is what is stressed by the parents as the way to success. It is imprinted in them by their parents from the time they start to walk. You don't see too much Psychology, Art History, Poetry or any other general elective being taken by these students! Outside of learning English and possibly 2 or 3 other languages so they can excel in the world, they are all Math and Science all the time. No extra-ciricular activities, sports, band, art, drama, music, volunteer work - those are distractions from achieving the goals of success. Our education system and society values well-rounded people. Is this right? Future will decide.

I'm a very involved parent who listens to my childrens teachers and administrators blame the parents for not being involved while at the same time put roadbloacks into parent involvement. The teachers and administrators are more interested in preventing cheating than teaching. My sons math tests are graded and then electronically posted, but they never see the test results! No review of the test, no time to answer questions, just move on to the next chapter. No chance to learn from what they did incorrectly. No chance to review if the grade was entered correctly. No chance to see if an asnswer was mis-graded. When I tried to see the test to find out what they missed so they could have the benefit of learning from their mistakes, I got stonewalled. The math dept doesn't return tests, it's the school policy. All the classes take the same test so noone can see the test because they might share with another student from another class or another year as they use the same "standards" tests every year! The teachers can't be bothered to change the test year to year, it's too much work. The policy is at every school and spreading. Months of discussion with the principle and teachers and no results except to say that parents should be more involved and that children aren't doing the homework. Teachers are only teaching to the year end standard test evaluations. The schools funding and teachers status are all tied to the standard testing results.

Most of the teachers are now Sports team coaches to supplement their income. Most signing their emails with Name, Sports Team head coach, Math teacher/Science Teacher. Are they primarily coaches or teachers? With Coaching and the normal life responsibilities, there is no time to meet with students after school, let alone meetings with Parents. No time to prep for the next days class. No time to grade tests or homework or enter grades. By the time we see a grade posted it's 2-3 weeks later, not exactly timely for parents. Can we meet with the teacher? Yes, make an appointment for after the sports league is done or the semester is completed. The principle actually told me it was okay for the teacher to neglect her 5 math classes for a couple weeks since her sports team was in the championships and it WAS one of her 6 classes!

There has to be something other than "No child left behind" and "I teach and if your kid doesn't learn it's their fault... I did my job"

Are all teachers like this? All schools? All administrators? No, just a majority of the Math and Science departments at all the schools within 100 miles of where I live.

As Geowil alluded to, the only teachers who are allowed to teach critical thinking aren't in the Math and Science realms.

When the system is being formed into Parents v Students v Teachers v Administrators, it is hardly an unexpected result that we are not moving in the positive direction. To move forward, everyone must be on the same page and the best interest of our children must be followed. But as in all things, hardly anyone ever agrees what direction that should be.

BTW - Since no facts are known about Mr. Ray's work, there is really nothing to comment on other than apparently he tried to solved a long standing Math/Physics puzzle. The only thing in this story that bothered me was the scientists who dismissed the findings without ever knowing the facts. Best to just say " I will review his findings and then comment". Instead, they came off as very pompous.

I don't post much and brevity is not my forte. Will try to do better next time.

#5.28 - Tue May 29, 2012 10:10 PM EDT

They came off as pompous because most of them are. Even today with our so called lousy education system, and I agree that it could stand a major overhaul, earning a PhD. is an extremely difficult thing to do. Graduate school, especially science and math takes a special kind of mind. If you think they were hard on this kid, just try being one of their students. They were put on the spot when asked to evaluate this kids work, when they didn't know any more about it than we do. I am sure this young man has a bright future ahead of him and he should be proud of his second place prize.

#5.29 - Tue May 29, 2012 11:14 PM EDT

16 going on 40! lol

#5.30 - Wed May 30, 2012 12:07 AM EDT

What's with all the hate for American kids? I seem to recall a kid from Minnesota last week figuring out a test for pancreatic cancer. Is that not something to be proud of?

#5.31 - Mon Jun 4, 2012 12:45 PM EDT

If you hooked up a test where a ball is thrown with various wind resistences and plugged it into the program 'Eureka.' It would come up with this formula for you. This is not impressive.

It wouldn't, because it would only derive air resistance for that specific object (a point mass with a flat area). I'm assuming that this kid moved beyond that and derived a formula for convex hulls with distributed mass.

#6 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:31 PM EDT

given that drag is nearly entirely dependent on geometry (not taking into account atmospheric conditions). I find it difficult to see the correlation in determining drag from newtonian physics which deals mostly with an object's mass. Of course, I would actually need to see his calculations and train of thought to understand it.

#6.1 - Tue May 29, 2012 12:33 PM EDT

It wouldn't deal mostly with mass. But he wasn't calculating just drag, but explaining the effect of drag in the trajectory of a thrown object. The distribution of mass in an object plays a big part in the trajectory of an object. For instance, in a boomerang.

But most of the work would be deriving a simple formula to determine drag on a convex hull.

#6.2 - Fri Jun 1, 2012 2:12 PM EDT

and look how little comment this topic is getting ! nobody seems to care about education anymore , ah well , i gotta go chek my email .

#7 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:34 PM EDT

I swear most of the people that comment on these stores has severe ADD. Can you all just comment on the amazing work this young kid is doing instead of going off on wild tangents which have NOTHING to do with the story.

#8 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:34 PM EDT

Thank you KevinH .The best comment so far .Everybody chillout ,give this Kid a credit before debating your miserable lifestyle.I could just immagine if he was from our neigborhood ,we'd all talking about how we Americans are the best .I really hope he's on something big .

#8.1 - Tue May 29, 2012 5:09 AM EDT

I thought the first comment would be to complain about the lazy mathematicians and scientists who won't try to peer-review this work themselves, instead, they say that "aren't sure" if it is really significant. So do the work!

As far as gravity goes, during WWII, there were a huge number of engineers working on bomb ballistics, to try to drop bombs on targets instead of hospitals. It is certainly something that people have been working on for years; if they say it isn't significant, they are just trying to throw people off. My father worked on that project in Florida in WWII.

• 1 vote
#8.2 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:26 PM EDT

What amazing work? Until he provides the details of it I could said have it solved. Let not jump too fast to defend. Science is skeptical to the core, and what he is holding up is not details sorry.

#8.3 - Tue May 29, 2012 10:30 PM EDT

I think it is wonderful he uses his head and thinks, works hard, and even if this isn't the answer it has caused more discussion and some thinking. Cool for him and physics in general.

#9 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:38 PM EDT

HYDRINOS were proved to exist on paper AND hands-on in the laboratory by Dr. Randell Mills of Cranberry, New Jersey, published on the web and it is a way bigger discovery than this, and nobody is paying attention because - if it is true - the oil industry would be transformed into a lubrication industry and be out of the energy business. check it out. www.blacklightpower.com "I want one of these!!"

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#10 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:41 PM EDT

I'll check it out

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#10.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:03 PM EDT

HYDRINOS.....Sure wish one of these fantastic discoveries would be for real.....

#10.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:52 PM EDT

I like that this kid writes a mathematical paper that is potentially of historical significance and he wins SECOND PLACE in the science fair. I guess it's tough to beat out the baking soda volcano project for the gold ribbon.

#11 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:44 PM EDT

Huh????

I'm hoping that you are being sarcastic and making a joke (right) :)

The last sentence is: "By the way, the first-place winner in the math and informatics category, Julius Kunze, wrote a paper on relativistic ray tracing. But that's a different story..."

relativistic ray tracing = baking soda volcano project for the gold ribbon.

I don't think so. I would love to hear both of them explain their theories it would be very interesting (to me at least).

What a nice change.......a story without garbage as the subject. Something rather uplifting actually :)

#11.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

Yes, the baking soda volcano always ran away with the Blue Ribbon; esp. if it was the Judge's kid. :-) When I was 16 I TOO was working on some Earth shattering mathematical formulas. Here's one:

Angle of dangle = 2 X Wiggle/Jiggle

Curiously, my math teacher was not impressed though I did do well with my hot tutor.

Seriously, just the fact that this young man is thinking this deeply is impressive and gives me hope for mandkind's future. As long as he doesn't go to work for Goldman Sachs and apply his smarts to the Carbon Tax Scam that is. :-)

#11.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:25 PM EDT

Seems like someone does not like memorizing formulas.

#12 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:48 PM EDT

I have a trick algebra formula which "proves" that one equals two. Its been around for a long time but 99% of people scratch their heads when confronted by it. They sense it isn't correct but don't know why.

#13 - Mon May 28, 2012 1:53 PM EDT

Do you know why?

Division by zero! ie. Infinity = Infinity + 1

let x = y

x^2 = xy

x^2 - y^2 = xy - y^2

(x + y)(x - y) = y(x - y)

cancelling (x-y) (since x = y, you are dividing both sides by zero)... This is the error.

Anything divided by zero is Infinity.

x + y = y

Since x = y

y + y = y

2y = y

so 2 = 1

#13.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 10:11 PM EDT

The only way two equals one is if you give me one of your two.

WTF-why there's frig

#13.2 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:52 AM EDT

Nice work for the kid. Hopefully he comes to the US on scholarship. We import our geniuses these days. That way we can cut education funding to balance the budget deficits accrued from greedy financiers short-selling mortgage derivatives and \$1 Trillion in illegal wars. USA! USA! USA!

#14 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:00 PM EDT

That way we can cut education funding...

Reports show that class size and funding per student have very little correlation to student performance. Why not cut inflated budgets when they are ineffective. It isn't the budget that is limiting the overall performance of the students. If so, how is it that third-world countries can produce better students that the U.S. recruits?

#14.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 4:19 PM EDT

Keep telling yourself that...and try to use a question mark when you write a question in reference to education. Bedsides, those "reports",well, I checked 'em out. They compare SAT scores from the eastern and western portions of the country to measure "performance" and as such are highly biased and inaccurate because ACT is what most students take in the West. Also, comparing costs in the US to developing countries makes no sense, unless you feel that you can get a teacher with a 4-year degree to work for \$2000 per year in the US. Time to go back, maybe?

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#14.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:06 PM EDT

Mike brutus, seems that you just made the argument for lack money NOT being the reason for our decline in our k-12 world ranking.

As for illegal wars, you must be really bummed out by obamas war and foreign policies...

#14.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 8:34 PM EDT

american-2051576 What the heck are you talking about? Do you get economics? We can't hire someone to work for \$2k per year in the US! Especially if they have a 4-year degree. Why compare our education system to somewhere average salaries are that low? Unless you want a high school grad educating your children, I suggest you figure out a way to keep teacher salaries high enough to pay for their 4-year degree and compete with other positions which require the same education. As average salaries increase, you need to keep teacher salaries at the same level or people without college educations will be educating your children and grandchildren. Get it, yet? This is basic labor market theory. Time to go back?

#14.4 - Mon May 28, 2012 9:12 PM EDT

Air resistance is variable with height. I would think you would at least need to know the air density first. NASA has done well with Newton in doing orbital trajectories but I wonder if this kid may chnage things somewhat.

#15 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:04 PM EDT
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#16 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:06 PM EDT

Nice dog

#16.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:10 PM EDT

Sorry......I got happy fingers.

#16.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:29 PM EDT

Good for him. He is probably unaware that most of Newton's discoveries are scientifically obsolete, but hey, he is just a kid. :) Keep on working. The future of science is wide open.

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#17 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:09 PM EDT

You better explain what you mean. You can't say something like that and not explain. Newton is used everytime a space flight is planned or a bridge or building is to be built. What a dipsh'it comment you made.

#17.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:13 PM EDT

Obsolete? Oh my gosh!! I guess I'll stop teaching him in my Physics class. Oh wait I guess I should stop listening to people who have no clue how much their lives are affected by his discoveries and equation to this day. Yes the future of science is wide open, partly because physics has something to build on, a framework partially built by Sir Isaac Newton. Not the first and not the last but certainly very important to our basic understanding of the universe itself.

#17.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:38 PM EDT

I am no physics guru but so far as i know newton's classical mechanics still governs 90% of the day to day physics in this world except when i guess things start moving into the realm of relativity and subatomic particles and quantum mechanics.

So i don't think newton is obsolete.

#17.3 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:48 PM EDT

Parenting? Acording to a poster above there's probably an app for that. Thats when parenting stopped.

#18 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:11 PM EDT

HEY CONGRATULATIONS!!! You got 2nd place in the math and informatics category for Germany's Jugend Forscht student science competition.

Ok, so he fills in 350 year old gaps in Sir Isaac Newton's ideas and gets.. uh.. 2nd..??? hahaha.. tough judges!!! wtf?!?!?

#19 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:13 PM EDT

LMAO ! 70 years ago they would have stolen his formula and put a uniform on him.

#19.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

It's a very prestigious competition but they didn't have the skills and time to verify his results, so they played it safe by giving him second.

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#19.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:38 PM EDT

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#20 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

he can play on my team

#21 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:28 PM EDT

I don't see why people think this is no big deal and wonder why this is even important. They figure well the resistance is estimated...so good enough. Really? I wonder if they should have estimated the friction co-efficient between rubber tires and highways? Or estimated how much anesthetic can kill per pound of person...why do we have fuel gauges in cars? Hmmm....yeah lets just estimate it... that's good enough. Bloody morons. This is a very important step in our learning as a people the very nature of the universe. Estimates are not good enough. People may say theres no comparison between the examples I gave because they are critical, well yes those ones are but they were extreme examples, who decides whats important and not. Now with these formulas there is one less thing we have to estimate. Jeez wake up people. Unless you are relying on the sun for your time, then go back to sleep, we don't need you.

#22 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:31 PM EDT

"The idea that a teenager could figure out something that Newton didn't is irresistible — particularly when the teen is an immigrant from Calcutta who says he's no genius."

Commenting on the above quote from the article, it sounds like disapproving attitude, which is so fundamental in human behavior that it is ought to be part of Behavioral laws (make note of it all of you data analytic scientists.") You equate immigrants from Calcutta (any place for that matter) some inferior human beings. Shame on the writer!

PS. By the way, Calcutta was known for its scientific zealots (think of Nobel Laureate Sir C. V. Raman and S. Bose of Bose-Einstein condensate fame).

#23 - Mon May 28, 2012 2:44 PM EDT

I guess I condensed that thought too much ... the significance of that immigrant angle is that he couldn't even speak German when he came to the country. To be sure, there are geniuses in Calcutta as well as in Cologne.

#23.1 - Mon May 28, 2012 5:02 PM EDT

I doubt Mr. Boyle was equating immigrants from Calcutta with inferior human beings, if he has seen what I have of eastern Indians. My son (quite cacucasian) plays chess in the U.S. southwest, and a majority of the top players are from Indian or Chinese families. I've seen enough else to equate eastern Indians with above average math/science/puzzle solving skills. Whether it's the importance those families place on those achievements (i.e., cultural), or natural ability, I won't conclude. I wouldn't doubt the boy's family emigrated to Germany because one of his parents was recruited.

#23.2 - Mon May 28, 2012 7:04 PM EDT

Having said what I said, I do have respect for your journalistic skills in scientific reporting. I read them all the time.

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#23.3 - Tue May 29, 2012 2:27 PM EDT

For want of a comma...

You guys dig too deeply. I just take that to mean that this young man (who is coincidentally from Calcutta) has some humility. That's all.

#23.4 - Tue May 29, 2012 7:44 PM EDT

Me-Indian American, University Professor, seen two daughters go through the public high school system.

Here is a broad view of what I feel.

The biggest problem I find is that Academic Excellence is unfortunately equated to nerdiness.

Way too much emphasis is placed for sports, leadership etc. (They are all important, but are secondary to academic achievement IMO)

There should be stronger differentiation between academically stronger students and weaker students--now the distinction is not very strong. Weaker students should not be merely passed from grade to grade, but made to achieve something before they can be passed--to increase their self worth.

The high school system should be split to provide different pathways for those who do not want to go to college, those who want to pursue technician career, those who want to pursue business, sales and those who want to be doctor lawyer etc.

There should be a national standard like there is a national standard for qualifying for medicare, emissions, water and environmental quality etc. How about a standard for academics, nationally? States should not be allowed to meddle with curriculum or selective about no child left behind etc.

There should be national entrance exam for technical fields like in India and China. SATs and ACTs are not metrics of academic preparation, but they reflect some skills the kids have.

Academically excelling students should be provided with tuition subsidies or waivers to motivate even more competition to excel academically

Teachers should be made to take assessment exams once in five years or so to ensure they still have the stuff. Excellent teachers should be given merit bonuses for their achievement

Parents should stop using schools as a partly baby-sitting facility.

There should be off-school free tutors available to enable children complete hard homeworks with help, for home with parents who do not have high school diplomas

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#23.5 - Tue May 29, 2012 8:24 PM EDT

Augmort,

I agree with you entire post except the need for national standards. There are national standards, and state standards that mirror them. Except at the national level they are recommended and at the state level they are mandated.

#23.6 - Tue May 29, 2012 11:31 PM EDT

Now, commenting on the work of the student, different individuals have different perspectives, which are the main reasons why breakthroughs come from some but not others while they may be intellectually on par with each other.

I, for one, was pondering over free falling bodies (as in theory) and those that endure surface resistance (as in practice); Refer to the work of the biologist J.B.S Haldane for an application of the later. I sure would like to read his paper.

#24 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:04 PM EDT

My kds were in the gate program in two states. Meaning there are programs for children that excell. One of my children pulled a prank, did not hurt anyone but almost made him flunk out of school. One teacher told me to check out the charter school. In a regular classroom a child can pass a class with a score of 69% that can be based on the curve because of the point average in the class. In the charter school a child has to pass with an 80% submitted though computer an no curve. When children compete against themselves they succeed. to me the "no child left behaind" really means "the weakest link". My children were bored in the class, fidgety untill the other children could catch up. Why not have some of the charter schools incorported with the regular school. By the way when my child went to charter, he did two grades in one year with high marks. So all of you that complain that schools are not perfoming maybe its time to look at alternates and the charters are free schools. You just have to have the motivation.

#25 - Mon May 28, 2012 3:20 PM EDT

Well, yeah, the thing is - if your children excelled in a room full of D-track students, it might hurt those other student's self esteem.

And we can't have that in today's school systems!

Imagine for a moment a splinter of our public school system - a separate program, where the kids go exclusively to excel, free from the mundane constraints of waiting for the kid with the 80 iq to 'get it'.

Let's take it further. Let's give those kids free college educations to achieve and excel in their fields of choice, to benefit humanity.

I think we can all give up a few useless full ride scholarships for football and basketball players to cover such a thing, don't you?

Oh, what a world that would be.