A 16-year-old mathematical whiz has discovered how exactly to calculate the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance– a dilemma first proposed by Sir Isaac Newton some 300 years ago.
Born in India, Shouryya Ray says he came up with the solution while working on a school project, and has since received research awards and even been labeled a “genius” by the German media.
Humble in addition to brilliant, it seems, Ray wrote off the praise as “curiosity and schoolboy naivety.”
Though the family moved to Germany when Ray was twelve, Ray’s father had reportedly been teaching him calculus since the age of six. According to the father, however, his son’s aptitude soon surpassed his own knowledge, despite his training in engineering.
Ray still credits his father with instilling in him a “hunger for mathematics,” however.
When explaining why he chose to tackle Newton’s problem, Ray simply said: “When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, ‘well, there’s no harm in trying.’”
“I didn’t believe there couldn’t be a solution.”
While mathematicians have been able to surmise partial answers until this point, Fox News is saying that Ray’s contribution will likely lead to greater precision in the field of ballistics, among others.
Though Ray didn’t speak a word of German before arriving in the country at age twelve, he is due to graduate this week, two years ahead of his peers.
When asked if there was anything he couldn’t do, or wishes he could do better, Ray responded: “Football, for one.”