German teen solves 300-year-old mathematical riddle posed by Sir
2, June, Fox News
A German 16-year-old has become the first person to solve a
mathematical problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years
ago.Shouryya Ray worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a
projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance, The (London)
Sunday Times reported.
The Indian-born teen said he solved the problem that had stumped
mathematicians for centuries while working on a school project.
Ray won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a
genius by the German media, but he put it down to "curiosity and
"When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I
thought to myself, 'well, there's no harm in trying,'" he said.Ray's
family moved to Germany when he was 12 after his engineer father got a
job at a technical college.
He said his father instilled in him a "hunger for mathematics" and
taught him calculus at the age of six.
Ray's father, Subhashis, said his son's mathematical prowess quickly
outstripped his own considerable knowledge."He never discussed his
project with me before it was finished and the mathematics he used are
far beyond my reach," he said.Despite not speaking a word of German when
he arrived, Ray will this week sit Germany's high school leaving exams,
two years ahead of his peers.Newton posed the problem, relating to the
movement of projectiles through the air, in the 17th century.
Mathematicians had only been able to offer partial solutions until now.
If that wasn't enough of an achievement, Ray has also solved a second
problem, dealing with the collision of a body with a wall, that was
posed in the 19th century.Both problems Ray resolved are from the field
of dynamics and his solutions are expected to contribute to greater
precision in areas such as ballistics.