HuffPo: Shourryya Ray, 16-Year-Old German Student, Dubbed ‘Genius’ For Cracking 350-Year-Old Isaac Newton Puzzle

28 05 2012

The Huffington Post

Posted: 05/27/2012 2:34 pm Updated: 05/27/2012 2:35 pm

Shourryya Ray, a 16-year-old German student, has cracked a puzzle that has stumped mathematicians since Sir Isaac Newton first posed the problem more than 350 years ago.

Ray has won a research award and is hailed a genius for solving two fundamental particle dynamics theories that physicists have previously only been able to approximate by using computers with partial solutions. The teen’s solutions allow exact calculations of a trajectory under gravity and subject to air resistance. In other words, an item’s flight path can be calculated and predictions can be made of how the object will hit and bounce off a barrier. The two questions were first posed in the 17th and 19th centuries.

The teen first came across the problem on a visit to the Technical University in Dresden when students received raw data to evaluate the trajectory of a thrown ball — but current methods could not yield an exact result, according to The Local.

So Ray set about searching for a precise solution, attributing his accomplishments to “curiosity and schoolboy naivete,” in refusing to believe that the problem was unsolvable, according to The Sunday Times.

“I asked myself, ‘Why can’t it work?'” Ray told the German Die Welt newspaper.

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