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German teen solves 300-year-old mathematical riddle posed by Sir Isaac Newton

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http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/27/german-teen-solves-300-year-old-mathematical-riddle-posed-by-sir-isaac-newton/

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 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.

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.

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Saw this a few days ago from another forum, and as people said over there, it really does make us look pretty primitive in the Mathematics fields when there are 300-year-old problems that have yet to be solved. Still, always pretty cool when human knowledge is expanded. Good on the kid. I'm sure he has a nice career ahead of him.

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Next stop working on string theory....

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First thing's first - pull this kid out of jail, find Robin Williams, and find out what this kid really wants in life.

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First thing's first - pull this kid out of jail, find Robin Williams, and find out what this kid really wants in life.

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Heard this on the beat 94.5 the other morning on my drive to work. They did not care one bit, their opinion was, "yeah? So? Who cares?" Although I agree that this isn't gonna change anyone's life in any way, it's still pretty impressive that throughout the decades of all the geniuses that have come and gone and couldn't figure it out, a teenager is able to.

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Saw this a few days ago from another forum, and as people said over there, it really does make us look pretty primitive in the Mathematics fields when there are 300-year-old problems that have yet to be solved. Still, always pretty cool when human knowledge is expanded. Good on the kid. I'm sure he has a nice career ahead of him.

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German's.. The most dull but intelligent people in the world.

What would we do without them.

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German's.. The most dull but intelligent people in the world.

What would we do without them.

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I read the article and though "wow, great for the kid" and laughed at the end when it said this will lead to improvements in ballistics.

Ahhh, humans.

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I read the article and though "wow, great for the kid" and laughed at the end when it said this will lead to improvements in ballistics.

Ahhh, humans.

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Clearly it can't be "solved" for every situation since how something flies through the air is dependant on so many factors. Even something as relatively uniform as a baseball has so many factors affecting it's flight.

While the calculations might help for general situations and could no doubt be used in modeling the true way forward to actually solve such problems is using a computer and finite element analysis. In fact that procedure is why now have much better weather forcasts and what not.

Pure mathematics is cool and all but it's not really going to solve much especially compared to computer modeling.

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Clearly it can't be "solved" for every situation since how something flies through the air is dependant on so many factors. Even something as relatively uniform as a baseball has so many factors affecting it's flight.

While the calculations might help for general situations and could no doubt be used in modeling the true way forward to actually solve such problems is using a computer and finite element analysis. In fact that procedure is why now have much better weather forcasts and what not.

Pure mathematics is cool and all but it's not really going to solve much especially compared to computer modeling.

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Oh, those Germans. They may be the heavyweight champion at starting world wars, but they continue to impress in other fields.

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That's the point of the article though - he solved a problem analytically that had previously only been able to be solved numerically.

There are a number of other variables, but he solved for the variable of adding a newtonian fluid (ie air). Simple projectile motion calculations all work great in a vacuum, but including a fluid meant having to resort to numerical methods. Until now.

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Oh, those Germans. They may be the heavyweight champion at starting world wars, but they continue to impress in other fields.

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I found a remote that I had lost like two months ago but I didn't need an article written about it

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Heard this on the beat 94.5 the other morning on my drive to work. They did not care one bit, their opinion was, "yeah? So? Who cares?" Although I agree that this isn't gonna change anyone's life in any way, it's still pretty impressive that throughout the decades of all the geniuses that have come and gone and couldn't figure it out, a teenager is able to.

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Someone already pointed this out, not to mention it was in the article: He isn't German. :picard:

Still great achievement, and for someone only 16.

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