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Schoolboy cracks age-old maths problem
The Local.de ^ | Published: 23 May 12 07:03 CET | The Local.de

Posted on 05/26/2012 3:07:20 PM PDT by James C. Bennett

A 16-year-old schoolboy has solved a mathematical problem which has stumped mathematicians for centuries, a newspaper report said. The boy put the historical breakthrough down to “schoolboy naivety.”

Shouryya Ray, who moved to Germany from India with his family at the age of 12, has baffled scientists and mathematicians by solving two fundamental particle dynamics problems posed by Sir Isaac Newton over 350 years ago, Die Welt newspaper reported on Monday.

Ray’s solutions make it possible to now calculate not only the flight path of a ball, but also predict how it will hit and bounce off a wall. Previously it had only been possible to estimate this using a computer, wrote the paper.

Ray first came across the old problem when his secondary school, which specializes in science, set all their year-11 pupils a research project.

On a visit to the Technical University in Dresden pupils received raw data to evaluate a direct numerical simulation – which can be used to describe the trajectory of a ball when it is thrown.

When he realised the current method could not get an exact result, Ray decided to have a go at solving it. He puts the whole thing down to “schoolboy naivety” - he just refused to accept there was no answer to the problem.

“I asked myself: why can’t it work?” he told the paper.

Ray has been fascinated by what he calls the “intrinsic beauty“ of maths since an early age, according to the report. The boy was inspired by his engineer father who began setting him arithmetic problems at the age of six.

He recently won a youth science competition at the state level in Saxony and won second place in the Maths and IT section at the national final.

Originally from Calcutta, Ray couldn’t speak a word of German when he came to Dresden four years ago – but now he is fluent. Since then, he was moved up two classes in school and is currently sitting his Abitur exams two years early.

But Ray doesn’t think he’s a genius, and told the paper he has weak points as a mathematician, as well as in sports and social sciences.

Ray, whose recent breakthrough may have earned him a paragraph in the schoolbooks of the future, is currently deciding whether to study maths or physics at university.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: germany; math; mathematics; newton
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1 posted on 05/26/2012 3:07:35 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: James C. Bennett
Good Lord! And my idiot ten year old son struggles with division and hasn't memorized multiplication tables.
2 posted on 05/26/2012 3:10:43 PM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: metmom; wintertime; JenB

Will any Americans have any achievements like this? Maybe if they’re homeschooled.


3 posted on 05/26/2012 3:11:01 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Obama and Company lied, the American economy died)
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To: James C. Bennett

Since then, he was moved up two classes in school and is currently sitting his Abitur exams two years early.

The Abitur two years early, that’s impressive.


4 posted on 05/26/2012 3:12:47 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: James C. Bennett

It’s likely below him. but can we send him to DC to teach them basic math.. like how to balance a check book?


5 posted on 05/26/2012 3:13:45 PM PDT by cableguymn
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To: James C. Bennett

42


6 posted on 05/26/2012 3:14:59 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: Clintonfatigued
"Will any Americans have any achievements like this? Maybe if they’re home schooled."

I clicked on the local progressive radio station this morning and they were doing a show on how conservatives are purposely dumbing down the public school system to deny children the education of how to use critical thinking.

7 posted on 05/26/2012 3:15:47 PM PDT by Baynative (REMEMBER: Without America there is no free world!)
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To: tet68

It’s that kind of attitude, “We didn’t know it couldn’t
be done, so we just did it.”, that used to be the norm
for Americans. Now our kids are all indoctrinated not to
be better than others or someones feelings will be hurt.


8 posted on 05/26/2012 3:16:06 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: James C. Bennett

If Obama had a son it would neither look nor act like him.


9 posted on 05/26/2012 3:16:28 PM PDT by SparkyBass
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To: James C. Bennett

“Ray first came across the old problem when his secondary school, which specializes in science, set all their year-11 pupils a research project.

On a visit to the Technical University in Dresden pupils received raw data to evaluate a direct numerical simulation – which can be used to describe the trajectory of a ball when it is thrown.”

Meanwhile in America ..


10 posted on 05/26/2012 3:19:49 PM PDT by daku
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To: James C. Bennett

Cool
Maybe he can figure out how to eliminate communists


11 posted on 05/26/2012 3:20:24 PM PDT by Rome2000 (WILLARD ROMNEY -- MORMON MELCHIDEZEK BISHOP -HIS FAMILY HAS AVOIDED MILITARY SERVICE FOR GENERATIONS)
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To: James C. Bennett
Ray’s solutions make it possible to now calculate not only the flight path of a ball, but also predict how it will hit and bounce off a wall.

That reminds me of this story of a group of guys who tried to use a computer built into their shoes to predict how the ball on a roulette table would behave. A fascinating, and true story.


12 posted on 05/26/2012 3:20:24 PM PDT by mc5cents
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To: James C. Bennett

Is this one of the big seven math questions?


13 posted on 05/26/2012 3:22:05 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: James C. Bennett

He’s too late. Obama solved this but before Al Gore.


14 posted on 05/26/2012 3:24:19 PM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (Some day our schools will teach the difference between "lose" and "loose")
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To: James C. Bennett

Maybe the israelies can use this to help them drop bombs on iran.


15 posted on 05/26/2012 3:25:35 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: James C. Bennett
Ray, whose recent breakthrough may have earned him a paragraph in the schoolbooks of the future, is currently deciding whether to study maths or physics at university.

If you know the math, the physics is easy.

16 posted on 05/26/2012 3:27:23 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: Clintonfatigued

Maybe if one of our universities offers him a nice scholarship—and then our immigration policies allow him to stay and become a citizen.


17 posted on 05/26/2012 3:29:25 PM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: James C. Bennett

That’s the way the ball bounces.....


18 posted on 05/26/2012 3:31:07 PM PDT by jakerobins
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To: cableguymn

He’s not in to politics, even though I agree Congress needs his math skills.


19 posted on 05/26/2012 3:31:51 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: mamelukesabre

“Maybe the israelies can use this to help them drop bombs on iran.”

Especially if the bomb bounces off The Dinnerjacket’s house first and then explodes!


20 posted on 05/26/2012 3:33:00 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: South Hawthorne

“my idiot ten year old son”

Ouch. Hopefully you don’t say that to him.


21 posted on 05/26/2012 3:35:53 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (We are the 53%. 47% of Americans pay no taxes; end the free ride...)
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To: James C. Bennett
now calculate not only the flight path of a ball, but also predict how it will hit and bounce off a wall

I can think of a few major league outfielders who need this kid's coaching.

22 posted on 05/26/2012 3:36:12 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: James C. Bennett

The article doesn’t go into much detail about the actual problem statement. I’ll assume it’s a bit more involved than using the angle of restitution used for inelastic collisions, and since numerical simulations are little more than hand calculations performed really really fast, I’ll further assume he derived a closed form solution e.g. a nice “plug-in” formula.


23 posted on 05/26/2012 3:36:51 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: daku

“Meanwhile in America ..”

...we are having Trayvon Martin Day, on which nothing will be accomplished but victimhood will be encouraged.


24 posted on 05/26/2012 3:38:06 PM PDT by txrefugee
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Can anyone find a solution/formula online. No article has a link. I am a math guy and would like to see this and because some people are posting that this isn’t really true and is only some type of partial solution that does not consider enough variables.

Wouldn’t be the first time journalists get amazed when someone can multiple 2, 2 digit numbers in their head. Article 2 weeks ago about some guy who got beat up and then become a math savant could solve “complex” problems like Pythagorean’s theorem.


25 posted on 05/26/2012 3:38:28 PM PDT by 007drizzt
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To: Jack Hydrazine

To all Another Srīnivāsa Rāmānujan Srīnivāsa Rāmānujan FRS was an Indian mathematician and autodidact who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. From the land that gave us our numbers (integers 1 - 9) and zero!


26 posted on 05/26/2012 3:39:59 PM PDT by Reily
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To: James C. Bennett

Does anyone know what problem he actually solved?

As described here, it’s not that tricky; what am I missing?


27 posted on 05/26/2012 3:41:48 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: South Hawthorne

And he never will untill it’s drummed into him over and over and over.


28 posted on 05/26/2012 3:41:55 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: txrefugee

The mathematic community is fortunate this kid wasn’t
in an American type grievance history class


29 posted on 05/26/2012 3:51:16 PM PDT by daku
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To: 007drizzt

Occam’s razor says you’re right.


30 posted on 05/26/2012 3:54:42 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: 007drizzt
This link has comments similar to yours, but with some extra information. In particular:

The first sounds like: Ballistic trajectory with Newtonian friction.

The second: Particle-wall collision using Hertz contact model and linear damping.

31 posted on 05/26/2012 5:33:27 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: James C. Bennett; martin_fierro; Charles Henrickson
Originally from Calcutta, Ray couldn’t speak a word of German when he came to Dresden four years ago – but now he is fluent

Ich bin ein Berlitzer

32 posted on 05/26/2012 5:43:41 PM PDT by mikrofon (Du kannst mich Ray anrufen...)
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To: dr_lew

Inelastic collisions.

I hope he has discovered a fix for FR’s crashing problems also?


33 posted on 05/26/2012 6:05:23 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature not nurture TM)
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To: Baynative
I clicked on the local progressive radio station this morning and they were doing a show on how conservatives are purposely dumbing down the public school system to deny children the education of how to use critical thinking.

Liberals don't have the slightest clue about what real critical thinking is which is why they appear to be capable of learning.
34 posted on 05/26/2012 6:10:11 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Reily
From the land that gave us our numbers (integers 1 - 9) and zero!

Kenya gave us Zero.

35 posted on 05/26/2012 6:18:43 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1222 of our ObamaVacation from reality [and what dark chill/is gathering still/before the storm])
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To: mikrofon
Ich bin ein Berlitzer

*GROAN*

36 posted on 05/26/2012 6:27:16 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1222 of our ObamaVacation from reality [and what dark chill/is gathering still/before the storm])
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To: Baynative

The left sure love projection, don’t they? The National Socialists were masters of accusing their opponents of doing what they themselves were doing or planning to do. The left is the left, whether it’s National Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Social Democracy, Progressivism, or whatever they choose to call it next week. It’s all the same and all from the left; the only difference between any of them is how far down the path to totalitarianism they’ve able to go.


37 posted on 05/26/2012 6:31:58 PM PDT by Trod Upon (Obama: Making the Carter malaise look good. Misery Index in 3...2...1)
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To: James C. Bennett

Just by the headline I figured an Indian kid ..... and I was right!!!!

Good for him!!


38 posted on 05/26/2012 7:05:00 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: James C. Bennett

Just by the headline I figured an Indian kid ..... and I was right!!!!

Good for him!!


39 posted on 05/26/2012 7:06:45 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: James C. Bennett

Good for him!

And good that his parents got him started in math early.


40 posted on 05/26/2012 7:35:11 PM PDT by thecodont
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To: South Hawthorne
Sit your son in front of the computer, click on the link, set the range, and give him some incentive to improve his score.

http://arithmetic.zetamac.com/

41 posted on 05/26/2012 7:57:05 PM PDT by DrewsDad (Environmental Extremism Eventually Endangers Everyone)
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To: steve86
Here is the description that is the basis for the remarks I quoted above. Just pretend it's english ;-) There are two problems for which he found previously unknown analytic solutions, or at least that's the claim. Quite remarkable, and I'd love to see them. Even though it's far from me to be able to come up with such, it's an easy matter to verify them if somebody gives them to you.

Zwei Probleme aus der klassischen Mechanik haben mehrere Jahrhunderte mathematischer Bemühung getrotzt. Im ersten Problem handelt es sich darum, die Trajektorie eines schräg geworfenen Körpers im erdnahen Schwerefeld und Newton'schen Strömungswiderstand zu berechnen. Das zugrundeliegende Kraftgesetz wurde bereits von Newton (17. Jhd.) entdeckt. Beim zweiten Problem ist das Ziel die Beschreibung einer Partikel-Wand-Kollision unter Hertz’scher Kollisionskraft und linearer Dämpfung. Die Kollisionskraft wurde bereits 1858 von Hertz hergeleitet, eine lineare Dämpfungskraft ist seit Stokes (1850) bekannt.

Diese Arbeit setzt sich also die analytische Lösung dieser bisher nur näherungsweise oder numerisch gelösten Probleme zum Ziele. Zunächst werden die beiden Probleme im verallgemeinerten Kontext vollanalytisch gelöst, diese danach mit numerischen Lösungen verglichen und schließlich ausgehend von den analytischen Lösungen Aussagen über das physikalische Verhalten hergeleitet.

42 posted on 05/26/2012 7:57:49 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: South Hawthorne
Sit your son in front of the computer, click on the link, set the range, and give him some incentive to improve his score.

http://arithmetic.zetamac.com/

43 posted on 05/26/2012 8:08:23 PM PDT by DrewsDad (Environmental Extremism Eventually Endangers Everyone)
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To: South Hawthorne

>> my idiot ten year old son struggles with division and hasn’t memorized multiplication tables.

When I was your son’s age, according to the academic standards at the time, I often ranked in the top 2% in the area of mathematics nationwide. And I didn’t memorize jack squat, and yeah, division sucks. So I’m not seeing the corollary to idiocy.


44 posted on 05/26/2012 9:18:41 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your damn Change!)
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To: South Hawthorne

He is not an idiot. Just gifted at something else.


45 posted on 05/26/2012 9:19:26 PM PDT by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: txrefugee
..we are having Trayvon Martin Day, on which nothing will be accomplished but victimhood will be encouraged.

Hey! On Shouryya Ray's first day in Fight Club, The Trayvon would have beaten his @ss.

Twice, for mentioning that pussy "maths" stuff...

46 posted on 05/26/2012 9:24:52 PM PDT by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: Jack Hydrazine

hey, bank shots could come in handy!


47 posted on 05/26/2012 9:25:56 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: dennisw
Just by the headline I figured an Indian kid ..... and I was right!!!!

I watched the National Geography Bee the other night and I'll bet it was 80% Indian.

Pretty cool that they had Texas accents, though.

48 posted on 05/26/2012 9:34:06 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Reily

Is that the guy they talk about in the movie Good Will Hunting? If so, it’s the first thing I thought about when I read this story.

Back here in the states, my daughter got a 95 instead of the 90 she expected in Math and the only thing that can account for this is that the softball coaching math teacher gave her credit for her high batting average. So, this poor mathematician kid who says he’s not good at sports better not move here because our moronic teachers will grade you based on making them look good as a coach, not solving 300 plus year old math and science questions!

Seriously, there’s nothing more he needs to do to get into MIT or Harvard.


49 posted on 05/26/2012 9:50:57 PM PDT by MacMattico
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To: James C. Bennett

The kid says he isn’t good in social sciences, but that’s probably only because in this PC world the crap even the German schools try to feed him makes no rational sense.


50 posted on 05/26/2012 10:04:55 PM PDT by MacMattico
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