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350-Year-Old Newton's Puzzle Solved By 16-Year-Old

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the top-of-the-class dept.

Education 414

First time accepted submitter johnsnails writes "A German 16-year-old, Shouryya Ray, solved two fundamental particle dynamic theories posed by Sir Isaac Newton, which until recently required the use of powerful computers. He worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance. Shouryya solved the problem while working on a school project. From the article: 'Mr 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 schoolboy naivety." "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.'"

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414 comments

That Moment (5, Interesting)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 2 years ago | (#40127897)

We all had that moment in school when a teacher would pose an "impossible" problem, thought to ourselves "Well, they've never faced ME before!", spent a few minutes toying with it and finally giving up. This kid...did not.

Kudos all around! The rest of your life will, unfortunately, now no longer live up to something you accomplished when you were 16.

Re:That Moment (5, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40127957)

There are two things impressive about this. One is the fact that you mention, that the kid did not give up until he had the solution and was smart enough to solve a problem that stumped every mathemetician for 350 years. The second is that people still try to solve difficult analytic problems at all instead of just turning it into a computing problem.

I don't know which surprises me more.

Fermat & Poincaré (4, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about 2 years ago | (#40128165)

Andrew Wiles solved Fermat's Last Theorm with paper only, as he despised the use of computers in writing mathematical Proofs. Another famous example is Grigori Perelman who solved the Poincaré Conjecture - with hundreds and hundreds of pages of mind-numbingly dense mathematics vs computer search.

Re:Fermat & Poincaré (2)

Machtyn (759119) | about 2 years ago | (#40128299)

It does seem pointless to me to use a computer to create a proof, except when using it to quickly calculate the known and already proven equations.

Of course, that's coming from a guy who continually messes up a number or sequence here or there.

Re:Fermat & Poincaré (5, Interesting)

Chase Husky (1131573) | about 2 years ago | (#40128309)

Another famous example is Grigori Perelman who solved the Poincaré conjecture - with hundreds and hundreds of pages of mind-numbingly dense mathematics vs computer search.

Perelman's three primary papers ("The entropy formula for the Ricci flow and its geometric applications" http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DG/0211159 [arxiv.org] , "Ricci flow with surgery on three-manifolds" http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DG/0303109 [arxiv.org] , and "Finite extinction time for the solutions to the Ricci flow on certain three-manifolds" http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DG/0307245 [arxiv.org] ) on modifying Hamilton's Ricci flow program to deal with singularities and proving Thurston's geometrization conjecture only span 68 pages, with the actual proofs/meaningful remarks comprising about 45 pages of that.

Re:That Moment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128223)

Computing tends to be a brute force analysis of all the possible inputs. That doesn't work well for NP hard problems and is often impossible with problems dealing with infinity... Not all problems are solvable by computers yet and instead need the analytical approach. Also computers may not find the most elegant solutions, for example there are problems which have been solved but required the invention of a new type of math to do so.

Re:That Moment (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#40128419)

Analytic solutions are far superior to computed approximations. They are far easier to calculate--computers have made computed approximations far easier, but most of the time that doesn't mean that they're *easy*--only that they're now possible. Being able to obtain the answer in a small fraction of the time is still a big advantage. They are more precise and do not require initial parameters. And they provide much greater understanding and insight into the underlying phenomenon. There is no surprise at all that people are still looking for analytic solutions.

Re:That Moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127965)

The rest of your life will, unfortunately, now no longer live up to something you accomplished when you were 16.

And you know that how?

Germany still produces some rays of light.

Re:That Moment (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#40128077)

Germany still produces some rays of light.

To be accurate... he was born in India and moved to Germany with his family at age 12. He did not speak a word of German when he arrived.

While credit must be given to the German school system, I think most of his accomplishment comes from him and possibly his family.

Re:That Moment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128121)

While credit must be given to the German school system

Must it? The school system could be garbage and still have the occasional intelligent person go through it. Perhaps it's not the school system that must be given credit, but something else (like the child himself, for instance).

Re:That Moment (4, Interesting)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#40128141)

Germany still produces some rays of light.

To be accurate... he was born in India and moved to Germany with his family at age 12. He did not speak a word of German when he arrived.

While credit must be given to the German school system, I think most of his accomplishment comes from him and possibly his family.

And maybe from not being in Europe or the western world the first twelve years of his life, adopting beliefs or creating a mental attitude that stuff like this cannot be done. And I'm not criticizing the Germans.

Re:That Moment (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#40127983)

The rest of your life will, unfortunately, now no longer live up to something you accomplished when you were 16.

Imagine the freedom of no longer having to live up to anybody's expectations. ;)

Re:That Moment (1)

epine (68316) | about 2 years ago | (#40128369)

The rest of your life will, unfortunately, now no longer live up to something you accomplished when you were 16.

Imagine the freedom of no longer having to live up to anybody's expectations. ;)

Better yet, he doesn't have an Erdos number less than his age, so he can still hope for a normal sex life.

Re:That Moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128035)

The rest of your life will, unfortunately, now no longer live up to something you accomplished when you were 16.

You never know, he might now go on to prove P = NP, or develop a unified theory of physics.

George Dantzig (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40128307)

We all had that moment in school when a teacher would pose an "impossible" problem, thought to ourselves "Well, they've never faced ME before!", spent a few minutes toying with it and finally giving up. This kid...did not.

Nor did George Dantzig at UC Berkeley in 1939 [wikipedia.org] . Without him, Good Will Hunting would be a movie about buying a suit at a thrift store.

Explain the mind of a genius? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127901)

Can someone who worked with geniuses and child prodigies before explain to me how their brains allow for learning calculus at 6?

Arithmetic at 1-2, Algebra at 3-4, basics of Calc at 5-6? What's the progression? It's not that I don't believe the guy, it's just that that is a rather large volume of information to pack into life, when there are basic skills like toilet training and such. I'm having a tough time imagining the time scale.

Now, if he said calculus by 10-11, I'd believe that. In the US, from K-12, almost all of it is repetition where you learn to add and subtract for the first month of every school year for some reason. If they cut out the crap for the smart kids, I could easily see calculus by 12 for competent kids. But 6? It seems difficult.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (3, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | about 2 years ago | (#40127959)

Concepts of mathematics (calculus) are actually very simple.

Most confuse the trivia of solving problems (knowing many rules) and how to apply them with understanding of basic mathematical principles.

Teach your kid about 'x' and abstract thinking in relation to rates of change. The rest follows quite naturally. (IMO).

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (5, Interesting)

2.7182 (819680) | about 2 years ago | (#40128379)

I was not a prodigy, but a really smart kid who was in many environments with prodigies or near prodigies.

My experience has been that most pre-teen children with this history don't understand the material very well, and there tends to be a lot of exaggeration about it. Smart kids are good at mimicking things and that is all that is really need to "do" the first year or two of college math.

Occasionally, but very occasionally you get someone really young who later goes on to do decent, or even more rarely great things, like Norbert Wiener or Terry Tao. But I would like to hear those people give their opinions of the depth of their understanding at that age.

I knew Nadine Kowalsky, who in HS would essentially just remember everything she heard in class and got 100 on every exam. (She wasn't the only one though. I knew a number of other people like that though that didn't do as well as Nadine did.) She later went on to get a Ph.D. from Chicago and published her thesis in the Annals of Math. That is a journal most mathematicians can't get a paper in. Like publishing in Nature or Science. Nadine was the real deal, but sadly she died of cancer not long after finishing her Ph.D. But I don't believe that Nadine was doing calculus until she was 15. And that was certainly on purpose. She, and her parents apparently, knew what was a good idea to do, and not to do, with a super smart kid. (This last sentence is conjecture on my part.)

But I think most cases of pre-teens you hear about are really not what they are made out to be. Once you get to 12 or 13 those, I think things do change a lot.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 2 years ago | (#40127971)

With all these things the kid probably started at 6 and got it all wrong rather then claim to be able to understand it at 6. Otherwise I think he's full of shit.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128001)

Everything that precedes calc, besides trig, is super easy and a smart kid can soak it up in a few months.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (2, Interesting)

dysan27 (913206) | about 2 years ago | (#40128103)

I'll bet you that any 6 year old can solve the problem of where a ballistic projectile will be, even accounting for air resistance, in real time without a computer.

Don't believe me? Toss them a ball. The rest is just notation.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (4, Insightful)

ebcdic (39948) | about 2 years ago | (#40128269)

No. The problem is to determine the trajectory from the initial position and velocity. A human tracks the ball as it moves, which is a completely different problem.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128353)

How you mean different problem? There's position, and velocity vector, no more no less.

Besides, you need to give the humans kudo's for making such accurate measurements, too.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (2)

WCguru42 (1268530) | about 2 years ago | (#40128397)

Catching a ball is a feedback mechanism. See where the ball is, compare to where the ball was, move (hands or feet, depending on how far off you are). Repeat as necessary.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (3)

gremlinuk (454089) | about 2 years ago | (#40128443)

Of course it's a different problem.

The first is a prediction from a known initial state, the second is an exercise in analytical approximation that just means you have to get your hands to reach the same position in space and time as the ball, based upon a continuous stream of information of ever-increasing accuracy about the relationship between said hands and the ball over time.

Wildly different exercises.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128129)

"If they cut out the crap for the smart kids, I could easily see calculus by 12 for competent kids. But 6? It seems difficult."

Last time I checked, the AP Calculus course was taken only by about 10% of high school students in the US.

So I would say that Calculus by 12 is something for geniuses, not simply "smart kids".

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 2 years ago | (#40128247)

10% is about the number going to university straight off high school where I live, so it's "smart kids" I think, and not geniuses. I'm pretty sure none in my yeargroup were geniuses, although there were some scary smart kids in the mix (and we were already a selection of less than 1%, doing a beta science study).

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128493)

Wait: I wrote "Calculus by 12".

If about 10% of HIGH school students follow the AP Calculus course, well, far fewer will be able to follow it when they're 12 or less (MIDDLE school age).

I don't even think that there're statistics about it, I suppose they are less than 1%. Maybe I live on another planet, but personally I've never met anyone following a Calculus course at middle school, I don't even know where they could attend it.

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40128289)

"If they cut out the crap for the smart kids, I could easily see calculus by 12 for competent kids. But 6? It seems difficult."

Last time I checked, the AP Calculus course was taken only by about 10% of high school students in the US.

So I would say that Calculus by 12 is something for geniuses, not simply "smart kids".

So if you learn something the majority of people doesn't bother to learn, you're automatically a genius?

Re:Explain the mind of a genius? (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40128385)

I was doing advanced Geometry and Algebra at age 8, yes I'm a slow fool compared to this kid. but it's mostly the quality of teachers (his dad) and the willingness to keep giving a kid what they want and challenging them.

The american school system is designed to DISCOURAGE this. Smart kids are told to be happy with the A they got without trying. If they challenge their teachers knowledge they are told they are wrong. Mostly because Grade-High-school education in the USA is simply following a lesson out of a book and not teaching it from an expert. the Gym teacher teaches computer class, The English teacher teaches Chemistry, and all of it creates a ho hum boring as hell experience for the children.

Here in the USA we do NOT want geniuses, we want good factory and office workers. Mediocre will not challenge authority.

yes I am jaded at the education system here. I was one of them that got bad grades because the teachers were idiots. I challenged my math teacher who could not believe that a kid can do multiplication and simple geometry in his head. I proved it on several occasions, but I was given failing grades for not doing the busywork of writing it all out. Plus I refused to learn his technique. It sucked and was harder than what I was using that came from college text books. So I ended up being a pissed off moody kid hating the education system because all I saw was idiots and morons trying to tell me they knew more than Me and I knew that they were wrong. I was reading at a 14th grade level when I was 12 years old. I read 1984 and understood the concepts and hidden meanings. I was devouring Vonnegut with a passion. I was told that the books were "too grown up for me" Everyone talked down to me and all it did was piss me off.

Sadly I did not have rich parents, so I had to suffer through the waste of time that the American Public School system is. College I slept through and aced it, at least they were not morons requiring me to turn in worthless busy work. It was in college where I ran into real education, educators that actually knew what they were talking about and would actually hold a discussion with me and help me learn more.

This is the problem here in the USA. If you are smart, you have a sack put over your head to slow you down to match the rest of the other students.

terrible article (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127907)

The article itself is mathless. It doesn't tell you what the solution was, or even present the exact problem that was solved.

Re:terrible article (5, Interesting)

sco08y (615665) | about 2 years ago | (#40127977)

The article itself is mathless. It doesn't tell you what the solution was, or even present the exact problem that was solved.

And running a search for the kid's name turns up the same article fifty fucking times over. Google did some work on link farms... they need to do some work deduping / despamming press releases.

Re:terrible article (1)

johnsnails (1715452) | about 2 years ago | (#40128045)

Yeh Im sorry about the article, thats why i submitted to /. wanted other people to weigh in on the discussion, and maybe find some better links.

Re:terrible article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128109)

Indeed. The German title of his work is "Analytische Lösung von zwei ungelösten fundamentalen Partikeldynamikproblemen", and his Wikipedia (!) article says something about linear damping and collisions, but I have not been able to find his "paper", neither of the homepage of his school nor anywhere else. It almos seems like there is something to hide.

Re:terrible article (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40128453)

Google did some work on link farms... they need to do some work deduping / despamming press releases.

Google News has a decent deduping system going on.
Google Search... not at all.

Also, the kid's name is Shouryya Ray
Not Shouryya Ra[missing letter here]

Re:terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128099)

I suppose if you were so inclined, you could search for the title of his paper that's displayed on his laptop in this picture.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/05/26/article-2150225-134DF83D000005DC-214_634x741.jpg

Re:terrible article (4, Informative)

Smurf (7981) | about 2 years ago | (#40128221)

That's "Analytische lösung von zwei ungelösten fundamentalen Partikeldynamikproblemen" or, in English, "Analytical solution of two fundamental unsolved problems of particle dynamics".

But that doesn't seem to be a paper published in a peer-review journal, but rather the title slide of a presentation he gave on March 1, presumably when when he received the Jugend Forscht ("Young Researchers") award.

And the kid is Indian, not German (as long as we can tell from the article).

And this is a problem in Physics, not in Mathematics. It shocks me that people get that mixed up.

And the kid looks 30 years old, but I would never hold that against him.

Re:terrible article (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128101)

With all due respect to this brilliant student, I wouldn't worry too much about that - the problem isn't actually solved until its been peer- reviewed and thd other mathematicians agree that his approach is correct.

Re:terrible article (4, Informative)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 2 years ago | (#40128219)

You are right. This article is awful, conveying no sense of the nature of the problem or its complexity, and giving no idea of the solution at all.

The only equations I'm aware of for a falling particle subject to air resistance take the form

m v' = -mg -a*v-b*v^2

which is a constant coefficient Riccati differential equation for the velocity v. I'm reasonably sure this would have an analytic solution.

Maybe complications arise in the 2D motion case, or perhaps the problem includes a particle which is also spinning. Maybe the drag terms take more complicated forms. I don't know. The article is pretty dreadful to be honest.

Re:terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128363)

Neat. I'm surprised Ernst Mach didn't get this already, but I guess that shows how much I ever covered the subject.

I suspect it wouldn't give that exact a solution anyways. (In real world scenarios, air is chaotic with turbulence and thermals, differences in air density with humidity, etc.) But what it should give you is an idea of the maximum deviation from the ballistic path possible when air-resistance is factored in. May not be able to bullseye with this knowledge, but you will know what kind of spread to expect when shooting for that bullseye.

I'm curious if this accounts for different projectile shapes, whether it's stabilized by spin or fins, or is simply a free tumbling projectile.

I'm also curious when different ballistic trajectories result in the same end point, is it the low or high ones that has the most precision? (Probably the most useful thing this math will tell you. Although common sense says the low ones cover the least distance, therefore they should have the least deviation.)

Re:terrible article (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128479)

My BS detector is quite good, and it went off.
Until I see more details, I'm surmising it's just another left wing media let's get more third world immigrants into advanced countries horseshit.

I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

us7892 (655683) | about 2 years ago | (#40127913)

I did not know that the two problems described were unsolved. I thought that "how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance" was already figured out. I guess "exact path" is the trick here. An the other about an "object striking a wall"...

Should make for even better gaming physics...

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127941)

There is no problem solving the equations numerically. This kid found analytical solutions to the equation of motion (or at least, that's how I read TFA). Punching in the exact solution is faster and more accurate than taking a zillion small but discrete steps, which is what you're stuck doing right now. Well, that depends on the complexity of the solution, but as a general rule...

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | about 2 years ago | (#40127963)

I'm slightly confused as well. In my high school AP calculus-based physics class we did projectile motion with air resistance and gravity at the beginning of the year. In fact, my teacher used that particular topic to "weed out" the students that probably wouldn't be able to handle the remainder of the course. He taught the material way above the actual AP requirement and make the topic exam so hard that a few kids switched into the lower-level physics course afterward.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

Lord_Naikon (1837226) | about 2 years ago | (#40128073)

Finding out where a projectile lands given a certain initial angle and velocity is a lot easier than finding out at what angle to shoot given a certain destination and velocity. I guess he found out how to do that because I was unable to solve it myself (when the total force on the projectile is dependent on its velocity).

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128085)

Yeah, since when weren't there already precise analytical solutions to this? Gravity is a constant vector force downward, air resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity and opposite to that direction, plug it all into f=ma and you get

mg{0,0,-1} + -k((d/dt)x)^2 = m(d^2/dt^2)x

where x is position vector. Express x as a function of t, set initial conditions from starting velocity, integrate and yer done. Have I forgotten something? (It has been a while...)

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128191)

You forgot a lot of things:
-gravity is not a constant vector force downward. It is a radial force inward toward the center of the Earth, and its intensity varies with altitude.
-air resistance is not constant either. It depends on air pressure which varies with altitude as well.
-air resistance is not perfectly proportional to v^2, especially at transonic and supersonic speeds.
-if the projectile is spinning, it may cause a net aerodymamic force in a direction other than -v. Like a curveball.
-the earth is a spinning frame of reference, which results in various annoying effects.
-the air is not necessarily stationary. Wind exists.
and so on.

But we don't know whether this dude accounted for any of this stuff or not, because the goddamn article doesn't tell us.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40128405)

"-gravity is not a constant vector force downward. It is a radial force inward toward the center of the Earth, and its intensity varies with altitude."

for any calculations on a scale less than 10 miles, assuming a constant will give you the same answer within a margin of error that is outside the ability of any store bought calculator.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 2 years ago | (#40128431)

All of which is very well known and (nearly) trivial to simulate. I presume what he did was come up with a *closed form* solution.

     

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128201)

Yes... you forgot an exact solution; numerical integration does not count.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#40128285)

You forgot that not only the length but also the direction of the resistance vector is changing, depending on the velocity.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40128325)

Yeah, since when weren't there already precise analytical solutions to this? Gravity is a constant vector force downward, air resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity and opposite to that direction, plug it all into f=ma and you get

mg{0,0,-1} + -k((d/dt)x)^2 = m(d^2/dt^2)x

where x is position vector. Express x as a function of t, set initial conditions from starting velocity, integrate and yer done. Have I forgotten something? (It has been a while...)

You've forgotten to actually give the analytical solution to this differential equation.

Re:I thought these were pretty much known already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128407)

You appear to be unaware what the word analytical means.

It's a problem where you plug in the initial numbers and out pops the answer. You don't need to do integration. a+b=c.

A differential equation finds an approximation which may be very very close, but it is not an analytical solution.

Applicable Real Genius Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127921)

"There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s all he did. He loved solving problems, he loved coming up with the answers. But, he thought that the answers were the answer for everything. Wrong. All Science no Philosophy. So then one day someone tells him that the stuff he’s making was killing people."

Specifics? (4, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 2 years ago | (#40127937)

Can anyone actually find the problems in question somewhere? I've been scouring Google and the whole thing is very vague -- no story really goes into depth about the actual problem he solved and how.

Re:Specifics? (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#40127987)

I've been scouring Google and the whole thing is very vague - no story really goes into depth about the actual problem he solved and how.

Looks like he's just invented the recursive puzzle!

Re:Specifics? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128067)

I found the solution here [goo.gl] !

Re:Specifics? (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 2 years ago | (#40128273)

Yes, a link hidden by a redirector posted by an anonymous account... what could possibly go wrong if I clicked it?

Re:Specifics? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40128347)

If you have the right extensions installed, nothing — by clicking on it you'd see that it redirects to Slashdot, and can decide to follow the link ...

Re:Specifics? (5, Interesting)

Slippery_Hank (2035136) | about 2 years ago | (#40128079)

The problem he solved is determining the exact path of a projectile, when accounting for air resistance. The drag coefficient for air resistance depends nonlinearly on velocity, so when it is included in the model the equations become difficult to solve (previously impossible, but apparently now done. Though I haven't found any links to his actual work). Here [aw.com] is an example of setting up the problem, and then solving it numerically.

Re:Specifics? (4, Informative)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | about 2 years ago | (#40128111)

This is an article from 1983. I believe it explains the problem.

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.fl.15.010183.000245

The reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127981)

His surname is Ray not Ra!! But to be honest he has solved this problem because he was in Germany, if he stayed in India he would have been normal!

Shouryya Ray, a 16-year-old Kolkata boy ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127991)

Um...German boy? ...Shouryya Ray, a 16-year-old Kolkata boy who came to Germany without any knowledge of German, has managed to solve two fundamental particle dynamics theories which physicists have previously been able to calculate only by using powerful computers...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolkata
    Kolkata /klkæt/, or Calcutta /kælkt/, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal.

Heck in the .au article German is capitalized to make it stand out...as if to emphasize the origination of the nationality of the kid.

Re:Shouryya Ray, a 16-year-old Kolkata boy ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128047)

So basic grammar is used to emphasize his origin? Really?

Difference between Germany and the US (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127993)

German media praise math geniuses, while american media praise hollywood actors/actresses (read: human rubbish) and reality show weirdos. In the US a "genius" is someone who makes millions, especially with lower education and without being able to do anything. That's "free market economy", and "supply and demand", right?

"The land of the free and of the brave" (with some fat on the belly).

Re:Difference between Germany and the US (0)

wealthychef (584778) | about 2 years ago | (#40128177)

There's nothing wrong with the American economy -- what's wrong I think is that we have a culture that success leads to happiness. In fact, neuroscience and psychology points the opposite direction: happiness leads to success. If we could grasp that one fact we'd all be better off.

Re:Difference between Germany and the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128373)

"In fact, neuroscience and psychology points the opposite direction: happiness leads to success. If we could grasp that one fact we'd all be better off."

That's philosophy. Let's stick to the facts: what can a math or physics genius become in the US? Maybe a university professor, making 100-150 K$ a year. Or maybe the R&D leader of a major company, but the salary would be nearly the same, the only way to get "rich" would be with stock options, which depend on factors that have nothing to do with R&D (marketing makes a company more profitable than R&D). An hollywood weirdo makes 10 millions per movie instead.

That's the obvious consequence of the mighty law of "supply and demand" that nobody wants to oppose: people are retarded and spend lots of money to go to the movies rather than financing scientific research. That's the "demand", so the "supply" will act accordingly. And who doesn't agree with this system is considered a "communist".

Now, who's more useful to mankind, a physicist or an actress?
If answering "a phycicist" makes me a communist, well I'm proud to be one.

Re:Difference between Germany and the US (2)

wealthychef (584778) | about 2 years ago | (#40128487)

"In fact, neuroscience and psychology points the opposite direction: happiness leads to success. If we could grasp that one fact we'd all be better off."

That's philosophy. Let's stick to the facts: what can a math or physics genius become in the US? Maybe a university professor, making 100-150 K$ a year. Or maybe the R&D leader of a major company, but the salary would be nearly the same, the only way to get "rich" would be with stock options, which depend on factors that have nothing to do with R&D (marketing makes a company more profitable than R&D). An hollywood weirdo makes 10 millions per movie instead.

That's the obvious consequence of the mighty law of "supply and demand" that nobody wants to oppose: people are retarded and spend lots of money to go to the movies rather than financing scientific research. That's the "demand", so the "supply" will act accordingly. And who doesn't agree with this system is considered a "communist".

Now, who's more useful to mankind, a physicist or an actress? If answering "a phycicist" makes me a communist, well I'm proud to be one.

No, that's not philosophy. That's science. The facts are on my side, not yours. Read "The Happiness Advantage" for details. I'm not denying supply and demand, arguing that a physicist makes more than Tom Cruise (although in general physicists make more than actors), or anything else you might think I'm saying. I'm saying as a matter of fact, based on good science, that the human brain is generally more productive and powerful when it's happy, which leads to increased success, but having success does not reliably trigger happy brain states.

Re:Difference between Germany and the US (0, Flamebait)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40128251)

Americans are very RELIGIOUS, and "critical thinking" is sin.

"Fruit of knowledge" and all that.

Superstition is what keeps humans backward. It plays to their most degenerate desires for controlling others on a mental level. It is based on falsehood, and should be constantly scorned and ridiculed in order to reduce the number of new converts.

If any adherents can PROVE their imaginary friend is real, I'll recant and suck his/her/it's Noodly Appendage, but until then fuck off.

Mispelled name in TFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128011)

His name is Shouryya Ray.

Re:Mispelled name in TFS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128427)

His name is Shouryya Ray.

You can call him Ray, or you can call him Jay. . .

are those problems NP? (0)

zome (546331) | about 2 years ago | (#40128033)

"which until recently required the use of powerful computers"

Sound like NP. If they are, and if the boy's solution is deterministic, it will be huge.

Re:are those problems NP? (4, Interesting)

geoskd (321194) | about 2 years ago | (#40128089)

The problems he solved are not NP. They are essentially calculus, but they are both very nasty calc problems, and the traditional way to solve calc problems is using newton approximations until the answer is close enough to what you want. An analytical / precise way to solve these problems is extremely useful to the physics folks, as the solution will probably also lead to better models of particle motion.

-=Geoskd

Solutions already existed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128039)

I know there's a solution for linear air resistance, so I can only imagine this is a solution for air resistance that has some other velocity relationship

When in Doubt... (4, Informative)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 2 years ago | (#40128041)

...go to the source! The German articles I've scoured seem to have a little more information about the problem itself and what he actually accomplished. The oldest one only records that he "claims" to have solved them (earlier this month), but so far no actual data. Close.

http://www.enso-blog.de/jugend-forscht-drei-arbeiten-aus-ostsachsen-beim-bundeswettbewerb [enso-blog.de]
http://www.morgenpost.de/vermischtes/article106358144/16-jaehriger-Schueler-loest-uraltes-Mathe-Problem.html [morgenpost.de]

skeptic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128053)

Due to the lack of specifics, just seems to be an article where a dad is bragging about his son, I'll reserve belief that Mr. Ra has solved anything until I see a published solution in a mathematics journal. Given the sheer number of ballistic weapons used by the US and other armies since the initial World War, I kinda doubt that there is a new solution to this problem of predicting where a shell would fall.

Wolfram Alpha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128061)

Man, he just went home and popped up Wolfram Alpha, what's with all the fuss?

Exceptional intelligence in ethnic sub-group? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128063)

This may be a little controversial that's why I'm posting as an ac (clucking chicken noises).

There have been studies(?) of how eastern European Jews might have been "selected" (unnaturally through their restriction to certain professions and due to population pressures forced on them) over the centuries for greater intelligence. Also, I've heard of how their seems to be a great pre-ponderence of noted scientists coming from Hungary which is culturally (and genetically?) distinct from the neighboring countries. (There is a quote from someone famous saying how they must be aliens, they are so smart).

Maybe the centuries (millennia?) old caste system in India has done this for their population, selecting their Brahmins for, perhaps, intelligence. (I don't know if this kid is a Brahmin but I've heard they are highly over represented in emmigration to other countries.). I remember reading a visitor to India saying how the caste system had seemed to have become burned into the very genetics of India, the Brahmins were uniformly taller and whiter skinned than say the untouchables. Certainly there are a number of Indian mathematical geniuses that are world renowned, has the genome become condensed in this fashion on this sub-group?

I'm not at all saying that Indians are, on average, any brighter (or dumber) than the rest of mankind. I'm not even saying that I think Brahmins are worthy of adulation; the Indians I've met in the states have tended to be arrogant and condescending (as I think was picked up during the trial of that Indian student at Rutgers). Still if, for your entire life, the people around you have appeared to be inferior (and you've been told that all your life that they are) I'd imagine you'd grow up with a sense of entitlement.

Re:Exceptional intelligence in ethnic sub-group? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128119)

The genes for intelligence/reasoning were probably selected for in India thousands of years before Aryan immigration/invasion.

Re:Exceptional intelligence in ethnic sub-group? (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 2 years ago | (#40128155)

Good job there, providing zero evidence outside of hearsay and stereotyping. Because if there's one thing that will provide evidence for eugenics, it's the opinions of other people who want to provide evidence for eugenics.

Problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128181)

The problem with that interpretation is that just having those groups believe that about themselves would have that effect.

Re:Exceptional intelligence in ethnic sub-group? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128387)

Ok, so Indians worship cows and their elite caste is named like the Fallout cows... There has to be a joke in there!

Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128065)

For god's sake don't let him work for the military, who are probably reaching out to him now.

Re:Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128475)

The Banking and Financial industry is more like it

Gotcha! (4, Informative)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 2 years ago | (#40128071)

http://jugend-forscht-sachsen.de/2012/teilnehmer/fachgebiet/id/5 [jugend-for...sachsen.de]

Text is in German. It all stems from a Youth Research competition he entered into back in March of this year. This is, so far, the best summary I've found -- there is a paper, apparently, but no link just yet.

'Two problems in classical mechanics have withstood several centuries of mathematical endeavor. The first problem is therefore to calculate the trajectory of a body thrown at an angle in the Earth's gravitational field and Newtonian flow resistance. The underlying power law was discovered by Newton (17th century). The second problem is the objective description of a particle-wall collision under Hertzian collision force and linear damping. The collision energy was derived in 1858 by Hertz, a linear damping force has Stokes (1850) is known. This paper has so far only the analytical solution of this approximate or numerical targets for the problems solved. First, the two problems are solved fully analytically. For the first problem will be investigated further using the analytical solution, the physical behavior of the system and set up outline solutions for generalized models. For the second problem is carried out in order to increase efficiency and convergence control a semi-analytical optimization. Finally, the analytical results are compared with numerical solutions so as to validate accuracy and convergence to numerically."

Re:Gotcha! (1)

imbusy (1002705) | about 2 years ago | (#40128245)

It seems like no one simply bothered doing it before him because everything is done much easier numerically. And you can do a lot more with numerical integration (account better for the environment) than this one specific case of the problem could ever handle.

So what is Newtons Puzzle? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#40128187)

Its not that desktop ornament with the steel balls on strings is it?

I thought the puzzle about Newton was why did Apple abandon it.

Flash journalism (5, Insightful)

yoctology (2622527) | about 2 years ago | (#40128213)

These stories about overwhelming acts of personal genius, especially stories that lack the details of the alleged act, are, without memorable exception, false. But we all like a good story about an under-caste upsetting gray hairs and the established order of things.

Think about that for a moment. A story supposedly lionizing science lacking the most basic facts that would permit substantial verification, or falsification, of that science. This is just flash journalism at work.

Re:Flash journalism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128361)

Agreed. I wish we could go back to the good old days of HTML + JavaScript journalism.

5 days early (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128313)

I think the press release was not to be sent out for another 5 days. (April 1st)

This article is crap. The problem has been solved (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128331)

I also had been told, "This problem cannot be solved analytically" in school, and even propagated this myth to my students for several years. Then I found a solution in an old dynamics book. Think of it as an "urban myth" that projectile motion with air resistance cannot be solved without a computer. Still, congratulation to this kid for working on a very tough problem which he believed to be unsolvable, and sticking with it through completion. Assuming of course that he solved it!

Just goes to prove... (0)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#40128391)

Nothing is 'impossible'. The impossible is just something that hasn't been done yet. "Never tell me the odds!" - Capt. Kirk
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