Truman Henry Safford (6 January 1836 – 13 June 1901) was an American calculating prodigy. In later life he was an observatory director. Safford was born in Royalton, Vermont, on 6 January 1836. At an early age he attracted public attention by his remarkable calculation powers. At the age of nine, a local priest asked him to multiply 365,365,365,365,365,365 by itself. In less than a minute, Truman gave the correct answer of 133,491,850,208,566,925,016,658,299,941,583,225 with no paper. At around this age he also developed a new rule for calculating the moon's risings and settings, taking one-quarter of the time of the existing method. Unlike many other calculating prodigies, Safford did not give public exhibitions. He went to college and studied astronomy. He became the second director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, the oldest extant astronomical observatory in the United States. Safford served as director of the Observatory until his death. In 1894, Safford had a stroke. He died on 13 June 1901 at 112 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey where he was living with his son.

## Wednesday, 27 January 2016

### Super Humans - Gerald David "Jerry" Newport

Gerald David "Jerry" Newport (born August 19, 1948) is an author and public speaker with Asperger syndrome whose life was the basis for the 2005 feature-length movie Mozart and the Whale. He is known for his frank advice and humor when giving presentations. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in mathematics, he is also a savant with the ability to perform difficult mathematical calculations in his head. He has two elder brothers, John (born c. 1941) and James (Jim) (born c. 1945). In June 2010, Jerry Newport competed in the Mental Calculation World Cup in Magdeburg, Germany. He won four of ten events, a second and a third and the World Cup Trophy for "Most Versatile Calculator." On his 46th birthday, Jerry married Star Trek actress Mary Louise Meinel (born March 6, 1955), also a savant with Asperger Syndrome. While Jerry has advanced math skills, Mary is an artist and former music teacher. From previous relationships, she has two sons, Stephen and Peter, and two grandchildren. The couple lives in Arizona. They separated in 1997 and divorced in June 1999, though later reconciled and remarried on Valentine's Day 2002. Together, he and Mary released Autism-Aspergers & Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond on July 1, 2002 and Mozart and the Whale: An Asperger's Love Story on New Year's Day 2007.

### Super Humans - Priyanshi Somani

Priyanshi Somani (born 16 November 1998) is a mental calculator. She was the youngest participant of the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 and won the overall title. She is the only participant who has done 100% accuracy in Addition, Multiplication, Square Root till date in all five Mental Calculation World Cups. Somani is the winner of "Pogo Amazing Kids Awards 2010" in genius category. Her name is also added in the Limca Book of World Records as well as the Guinness Book of World Records. Priyanshi Somani, daughter of businessman Satyen Somani and Anju Somani, started learning Mental Maths at the age of 6. She studied in Lourdes Convent High School of Surat. She was the youngest participant of the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 and won the overall combination title held at the University of Magdeburg, Germany on 5–7 June 2010. Somani claimed the title among 37 competitors from 16 countries, after standing 1st in extracting square roots from 6 digit numbers up to 8 significant digits in 6:51 minutes, 2nd in addition [10 numbers of 10 digits] and multiplication [2 numbers of 8 digits]. She is the only participant who has performed with 100% accuracy in Addition, Multiplication, and Square Root to date in all four mental calculation world cups. Priyanshi also solved 10 assigned tasks of square root correctly in 6:28 minutes on June 7, 2010, during the World Cup. As a result, she won Memoriad Cup and qualified for the Memoriad World Mental Olympics competition held in Turkey 2012. Priyanshi has been named the Indian Ambassador for the prestigious World Maths Day 2011 event. On 3 January 2012, Priyanshi Somani became the new "World Record Holder" in "Mental Square Roots". By using Memoriad Competition software, she finished 10 tasks of 6 digit numbers in 2:43:05 minutes. All tasks were calculated correctly to 8 significant digits. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 she was the National Champion in abacus and mental arithmetic competition in India and in 2007 International Champion at Malaysia. She is the winner of Pogo Amazing Kids Awards 2010 in the genius category. Priyanshi was the Guest Of Honor in the 16th Mental Arithmetic International Competition on 28 November 2010 organized by UCMAS Global Education Group at Malaysia among 43 countries. Recently her name is featured on the Mind & Memory page of Guinness Book of World Records 2014. Priyanshi Somani received the Outstanding Delegate Award in the third annual conference of CheongShim International Academy Model United Nations, held on the 20th to the 21st of February 2012 in North Korea. An assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University has included Priyanshi in a research project.

## Tuesday, 26 January 2016

### Super Humans - Ettore Majorana

Ettore Majorana (Italian: [ˈɛttore majoˈraːna]; born on 5 August 1906 – probably died after 1959) was an Italian theoretical physicist who worked on neutrino masses. He disappeared suddenly under mysterious circumstances while going by ship from Palermo to Naples. The Majorana equation and Majorana fermions are named after him. In 2006, the Majorana Prize was established in his memory. "There are several categories of scientists in the world; those of second or third rank do their best but never get very far. Then there is the first rank, those who make important discoveries, fundamental to scientific progress. But then there are the geniuses, like Galilei and Newton. Majorana was one of these." (Enrico Fermi about Majorana, Rome 1938)

Majorana was born in Catania, Sicily. Mathematically gifted, he was very young when he joined Enrico Fermi's team in Rome as one of the "Via Panisperna boys", who took their name from the street address of their laboratory. His uncle Quirino Majorana was also a physicist. He began his university studies in engineering in 1923 but switched to physics in 1928 at the urging of Emilio Segrè. His first papers dealt with problems in atomic spectroscopy. His first paper, published in 1928, was written when he was an undergraduate and coauthored by Giovanni Gentile, Jr., a junior professor in the Institute of Physics in Rome. This work was an early quantitative application to atomic spectroscopy of Fermi's statistical model of atomic structure (now known as the Thomas–Fermi model, due to its contemporaneous description by Llewellyn Thomas). In this paper, Majorana and Gentile performed first-principles calculations within the context of this model that gave a good account of experimentally-observed core electron energies of gadolinium and uranium, and of the fine structure splitting of caesium lines observed in optical spectra. In 1931, Majorana published the first paper on the phenomenon of autoionization in atomic spectra, designated by him as "spontaneous ionization"; an independent paper in the same year, published by Allen Shenstone of Princeton University, designated the phenomenon as "auto-ionization", a name first used by Pierre Auger. This name has since become conventional, without the hyphen. Majorana earned his Laurea in physics at the University of Rome La Sapienza in 1929. In 1932, he published a paper in the field of atomic spectroscopy concerning the behaviour of aligned atoms in time-varying magnetic fields. This problem, also studied by I.I. Rabi and others, led to an important sub-branch of atomic physics, that of radio-frequency spectroscopy. In the same year, Majorana published his paper on a relativistic theory of particles with arbitrary intrinsic momentum, in which he developed and applied infinite dimensional representations of the Lorentz group, and gave a theoretical basis for the mass spectrum of elementary particles. Like most of Majorana's papers in Italian, it languished in relative obscurity for several decades. Experiments in 1932 by Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot showed the existence of an unknown particle that they suggested was a gamma ray. Majorana was the first to interpret correctly the experiment as requiring a new particle that had a neutral charge and a mass about the same as the proton; this particle is the neutron. Fermi told him to write an article, but Majorana didn't bother. James Chadwick proved the existence of the neutron by experiment later that year, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Solution of Majorana's equation yields particles that are their own anti-particle, now referred to as Majorana Fermions. In April 2012, some of what Majorana predicted may have been confirmed in experiments on hybrid semiconductor-superconductor wire devices. These experiments may potentially lead to a better understanding of quantum mechanics and may help build a quantum computer. There has also been speculation that at least some part of the "missing mass" in the universe, which cannot be detected except by inference of its gravitational influences, may be composed of Majorana particles. Majorana was known for not seeking credit for his discoveries, considering his work to be banal. He wrote only nine papers in his lifetime. "At Fermi's urging, Majorana left Italy early in 1933 on a grant from the National Research Council. In Leipzig, Germany, he met Werner Heisenberg. In letters he subsequently wrote to Heisenberg, Majorana revealed that he had found in him, not only a scientific colleague, but a warm personal friend." Majorana also travelled to Copenhagen, where he worked with Niels Bohr, another Nobel Prize winner, and a friend and mentor of Heisenberg. The Nazis had come to power in Germany as Majorana arrived there. He studied with Werner Heisenberg in Leipzig, and worked on a theory of the nucleus (published in German in 1933) which, in its treatment of exchange forces, represented a further development of Heisenberg's theory of the nucleus. Majorana's last-published paper, in 1937, this time in Italian, was an elaboration of a symmetrical theory of electrons and positrons. "In the fall of 1933, Majorana returned to Rome in poor health, having developed acute gastritis in Germany and apparently suffering from nervous exhaustion. Put on a strict diet, he grew reclusive and became harsh in his dealings with his family. To his mother, with whom he had previously shared a warm relationship, he had written from Germany that he would not accompany her on their customary summer vacation by the sea. Appearing at the institute less frequently, he soon was scarcely leaving his home; the promising young physicist had become a hermit. For nearly four years he shut himself off from friends and stopped publishing." During these years, in which he published few articles, Majorana wrote many small works on several topics, from geophysics, to electrical engineering, from mathematics to relativity. These unpublished papers, preserved in Domus Galileiana in Pisa, recently have been edited by Erasmo Recami and Salvatore Esposito. He became a full professor of theoretical physics at the University of Naples in 1937, without needing to take an examination because of his "high fame of singular expertise reached in the field of theoretical physics", independently of the competition rules. Majorana did prescient theoretical work on neutrino masses, a currently active subject of research. He also worked on an idea that mass may exert a small shielding effect on gravitational waves, which did not gain much traction.

Majorana disappeared in unknown circumstances during a boat trip from Palermo to Naples on March 25, 1938. Despite several investigations, his fate is still uncertain. His body has not been found. He had apparently withdrawn all of his money from his bank account, prior to making a trip to Palermo. He may have travelled to Palermo hoping to visit his friend Emilio Segrè, a professor at the university there, but Segrè was in California at that time. On the day of his disappearance, Majorana sent the following note to Antonio Carrelli, Director of the Naples Physics Institute: Dear Carrelli, I made a decision that has become unavoidable. There isn't a bit of selfishness in it, but I realize what trouble my sudden disappearance will cause you and the students. For this as well, I beg your forgiveness, but especially for betraying the trust, the sincere friendship and the sympathy you gave me over the past months. I ask you to remember me to all those I learned to know and appreciate in your Institute, especially Sciuti: I will keep a fond memory of them all at least until 11 pm tonight, possibly later too. E. Majorana

This was followed rapidly by a telegram cancelling his earlier plans. He apparently bought a ticket from Palermo to Naples and was never seen again. Several possible explanations for his disappearance have been proposed, including:

-Hypothesis of suicide, by his colleagues Amaldi, Segrè and others

-Hypothesis of escape to Argentina, by Erasmo Recami and Carlo Artemi (who has developed a detailed hypothetical reconstruction of Majorana's possible escape and life in Argentina)

-Hypothesis of escape to a monastery (Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno), by Sciascia

-Hypothesis of kidnapping or killing, to avoid his participation in the construction of an atomic weapon, by Bella, Bartocci, and others

-Hypothesis of escape to become a beggar ("omu cani" or "dog man" hypothesis), by Bascone, and Venturini

In March 2011, Italian media reported that the Rome Attorney's office[clarification needed] had announced an inquiry into the statement made by a witness about meeting with Majorana in Buenos Aires in the years after World War II. On June 7, 2011, Italian media reported that the Carabinieri's RIS had analyzed a photograph of a man taken in Argentina in 1955, finding ten points of similarity with Majorana's face. On February 4, 2015, the Rome Attorney's Office released a statement declaring that Majorana was alive between 1955 and 1959, living in Valencia, Venezuela. These last findings, based on new evidence, has made the Office declare the case officially closed, having found no criminal evidence related to his disappearance which probably was a personal choice.

### Super Humans - Zerah Colburn

Zerah Colburn (September 1, 1804 – March 2, 1839) was a child prodigy of the 19th century who gained fame as a mental calculator. Colburn was born in Cabot, Vermont, in 1804. He was thought to be intellectually disabled until the age of seven. However, after six weeks of schooling his father overheard him repeating his multiplication tables. His father wasn't sure whether or not he learned the tables from his older brothers and sisters, but he decided to test him further on his mathematical abilities and discovered that there was something special about his son when Zerah correctly multiplied 13 and 97. Colburn's abilities developed rapidly and he was soon able to solve such problems as the number of seconds in 2,000 years, the product of 12,225 and 1,223, or the square root of 1,449. When he was seven years old he took six seconds to give the numbers of hours in thirty-eight years, two months, and seven days. Zerah is reported to have been able to solve fairly complex problems. For example, the sixth Fermat number is 225+1 (or 232+1). The question is whether this number, 4,294,967,297, is prime or not. Zerah calculated in his head that it was not and has divisor 641. The other divisor is 6,700,417 and can easily be found using a calculator. His father capitalized on his boy's talents by taking Zerah around the country and eventually abroad, demonstrating the boy's exceptional abilities. The two left Vermont in the winter of 1810-11. Passing through Hanover, New Hampshire, John Wheelock, then president of Dartmouth College, offered to take upon himself the whole care and expense of his education, but his father rejected the offer. At Boston, the boy's performances attracted much attention. He was visited by Harvard College professors and eminent people from all professions, and the newspapers ran numerous articles concerning his powers of computation. After leaving Boston, his father exhibited Zerah for money throughout the middle and part of the southern states and, in January 1812, sailed with him for England. In September 1813 Colburn was being exhibited in Dublin. Colburn was pitted against the 8-year-old William Rowan Hamilton in a mental arithmetic contest, with Colburn emerging the clear victor. In reaction to his defeat, Hamilton dedicated less time to studying languages and more time to studying mathematics. After traveling over England, Scotland, and Ireland, they spent 18 months in Paris. Here Zerah was placed in the Lycée Napoléon, but was soon removed by his father, who, at length, in 1816, returned to England in the deepest penury. The Earl of Bristol soon became interested in the boy, and placed him in Westminster School, where he remained until 1819. In consequence of his father's refusal to comply with certain arrangements proposed by the earl, Zerah was removed from Westminster, and his father now proposed to Zerah that he should study to become an actor. Accordingly, he studied for this profession, and was for a few months under the tuition of Charles Kemble. His first appearance, however, satisfied both his instructor and himself that he was not adapted for the stage, and accordingly he accepted a situation as assistant in a school, and soon afterward commenced a school of his own. To this he added the performing of some astronomical calculations for Thomas Young, then secretary of the Board of Longitude. In 1824, on the death of his father, he was enabled by the Earl of Bristol and other friends to return to the United States. Though Zerah's schooling was rather irregular, he showed talent in languages. He went to Fairfield, New York, as assistant teacher of an academy; but not being pleased with his situation, he moved in March following to Burlington, Vermont, where he taught French, pursuing his studies at the same time in the University of Vermont. Toward the end of 1825 he connected himself with the Methodist Church and, after nine years of service as an itinerant preacher, he settled in Norwich, Vermont, in 1835, where he was soon after appointed professor of languages in Norwich University. In 1833 he published his autobiography. From this it appears that his faculty of computation left him about the time he reached adulthood. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 34 and was buried in Northfield’s Old Meeting House Cemetery.

## Monday, 25 January 2016

### Super Humans - Tristan Pang

Tristan Pang (born 18 October 2001, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England), is a child prodigy who excelled academically from an early age. According to TVNZ, he is the top mathematician and scientist, a clever problem solver and a great communicator.[2] He started reading independently and doing high school maths at the age of two. He self-learned[11] and sat the Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE maths (Year 11 / O Level) and earned the top grade A* scoring 97% at only nine. By age eleven he top scored with A* at the Cambridge A level exams (Year 13), delivered a TED talk and became one of the youngest speakers in the world. He started his university studies at the University of Auckland by the age of twelve. In the same year, Tristan created a free online learning platform, Tristan's Learning Hub. By age thirteen, he created his own weekly radio show, Youth Voices with Tristan Pang. He also co-created Change Agents NZ, a Twitter chat group. Tristan is the youngest student at the University of Auckland studying maths and physics. He is also a former head boy at Ficino School. Since he was young, he has been teaching himself in multi-levels on all subjects at home. He has always been fascinated by the relationships between light and energy, and is also interested in quantum physics and time travel, as well as how the human body and mind works. He is planning to be a science researcher in these fields. His role models are, Professor Eamonn O'Brien, Professor Cather Simpson, Professor Roger Penrose and Professor Steven Hawking. His mentor, Andrew Patterson, mentioned on TVNZ that he isn't a typical gifted child who justs operates in the back corner and doesn't talk to anybody, instead, he's willing to share his knowledge and passions at schools, education institutes, on-stage and on-screen. He has been delivering numerous speeches with an aim to inspire and help young people. He has been named as one of the 25 most influential Kiwis. and one of the ten child prodigies who may change the world. He is set to make his mark internationally.

Tristan Pang hosts a radio show called Youth Voices on PlanetFM 104.6FM. He shares inspirational talks, interviews, stories and quotes from a youth perspective. It was aired every Saturday at 5:20 pm NZT from 7 March until 2 September 2015. Due to his heavy workload, Tristan now airs every first Wednesday of the month at 2:10 pm NZT. Tristan has created websites including Tristan's Learning Hub[25] and Quest-is-fun. Tristan's learning hub consists of educational videos while Quest-is-fun has inspirational material, including his radio shows. One notable video Tristan has recently created was featured on the Khan Academy website. In this video, Tristan talks about the Theory of Everything, also known as the string theory. He has also created a website for the 40th-anniversary conference of the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children. Tristan co-hosts a Twitter chat group with a teacher, Change Agents. This chat is ongoing using the hashtag #changeagentsnz on Twitter, involving educators, students and parents from around the world. Tristan has done numerous speeches and interviews. These include some overseas, some to educators and some to students. Tristan has received rewards from different organisations including one from Shiva Ayyadurai, USA. He has also spoken at different institutes including the Auckland Primary Principals Association, the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children's conference, in the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2015, UAE and at the Festival of Education

### Super Humans - Raúl Arturo Chávez Sarmiento

Raúl Arturo Chávez Sarmiento (born 24 October 1997) is a Peruvian child prodigy in mathematics. At the age of 11 years, 271 days, he won a bronze medal at the 2009 International Mathematical Olympiad, making him the second youngest medalist in IMO history, behind Terence Tao who won bronze in 1986 at the age of 10. He won a silver medal at the 2010 IMO, a gold medal (6th ranked overall) at the 2011 IMO, and again a silver medal at the 2012 IMO.

This is impressive:

### Super Humans - Kelvin Doe

At the age of 13, a boy living in Sierra Leone created batteries and generators using materials he picked up around the house or from trash bins. Now, he's wowing experts in the U.S. Kelvin Doe, now 16, became the youngest person in history to be invited to the "Visiting Practitioner's Program" at MIT, according to CNN. Doe, a completely self-taught engineer, manages his own fully-staffed community radio station in Sierra Leone where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker 'DJ Focus.' The radio station is powered by a generator created from a deteriorating voltage stabilizer, which he found in the trash, while a simple antenna lets his neighborhood listen in. "They call me DJ Focus because I believe if you focus, you can do an invention perfectly," Doe said in a video produced by @radical.media for their THNKR YouTube channel. Among those inventions is a battery that he created to light up homes in his neighborhood. "The lights will come on once in a week, and the rest of the month, dark," Doe told interviewers. It took several attempts before Doe finally had a working prototype for the battery -- a combination of soda, acid and metal, wrapped together by tape. MIT discovered Doe during Innovate Salone, a national high school innovation challenge held in Sierra Leone by an international organization called Global Minimum. Doctoral student David Sengeh recognized his skills right away. "It's very inspirational," Sengeh said in the video. "He created a generator because he needed it." Before attending Innovate Salone this year, Doe had never been more than 10 miles from home. With Sengeh's help, in September he journeyed to New York for the 2012 World Maker Faire, where he sat on a “Meet the Young Makers” panel with four American inventors. Doe's fame only promises to grow from here. Soon he will be a resident practitioner with the International Development Initiative at MIT and a guest presenter at Harvard School of Engineering, where he'll gain even more practical knowledge to help his community. "Whatever things I've learned here, I will share it with my friends, colleagues and loved ones," Doe said.

## Sunday, 24 January 2016

### Super Humans - Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha

Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha (born March 13, 1991) is an American child genius with an IQ of 173. She started reading at age 1, began learning college-level calculus and was profiled by a CBS News 48 Hours special on "Whiz Kids!" at age 7, and at age 13 became the youngest student to complete work for a bachelor's degree from Montana State University in Mathematics. Promethea was born to Georgia Smith, a Greek-born artist, and has two older siblings, Vanessa and Apollo. For several months when Promethea was 4, she and her family were homeless and lived in their car in San Francisco. This was when her mother began to teach her advanced mathematics. At age 5, she was enrolled in Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth. After being featured on a national CBS News special "Whiz Kids!", she was allowed to enroll as a regular student earning credit toward graduation at Montana State University. She audited her first M.S.U. course, calculus, at age 7. At age 13, she completed the course work necessary for a bachelor's degree in Mathematics, and at age 14 she officially graduated with that degree. Paying for college had always been a difficulty for the young student. Due to her young age, she was automatically disqualified for most university scholarships, and couldn't hold a job. A local family had paid for her tuition through the completion of her first degree. After her graduation, she spoke of her desire to continue her education, but due to her family's low income could not afford to continue with her studies. She wrote to Montana politicians, arguing that the state of Montana pledges a taxpayer funded education to other teenagers (throughout what is generally their high school years), but that she was being abandoned. Her alma mater offered to waive her tuition until she turned 16. In 2004, she changed her name, selecting names reflecting her aspirations and the ideals that she admired in ancient Greek history. In 2006, Promethea was awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation. In January 2007, she was invited to speak in Chicago at a banquet to honor the Festival of the Three Hierarchs, a commemoration of the three founders of the Greek Orthodox Church. Her topic was to be the role of the church in education. During her research on the church founders, Promethea became convinced that the Church had committed genocide. In her speech, she demanded a separation of church and state, as well as the end of church control on education. The event was posted to YouTube and seen by Greeks around the world. Promethea received messages from passionate Greeks in America and Greece. Some sent her hate mail, but others commended her courage and sent books and offers of tuition. After her speech, she was invited to visit Greece for five days and was interviewed by Alpha TV. In 2011, she was involved in a shooting incident. In 2013, a settlement was reached in the subsequent court case.

## Friday, 22 January 2016

### Super Humans - Anne-Marie Imafidon

Anne-Marie Imafidon (born 1990) is a British computing, mathematics and language child prodigy. She is one of the youngest to pass two GCSEs in two different subjects while in primary school. She passed two GCSE Examinations (in Mathematics and Information technology) at the age of 11. Imafidon's father is of Nigerian descent. Imafidon studied at the Lyceum Institute of Technology in East Ham, London, where she became the youngest person ever to obtain a qualification in Information Technology. At age 10 she won a scholarship to the private School St Joseph's Convent School in Reading, a year younger than usual. At 13, in 2003, she received a British scholarship to study mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. At 15, in 2005, she was admitted a degree program by the University of Oxford. At 17, she started a Masters degree at Oxford University and, at 19 in June 2010, she became the youngest ever graduate with a masters degree. Since leaving Oxford Imafidon has started work at Deutsche Bank. She is notable for championing the work of women in STEM and for setting up the organisation Stemettes, who run panel sessions and hackathons supporting girls and young women who are considering a STEM career. In April 2014, Imafidon was the keynote speaker at the BCS Women Lovelace Colloquium.

## Thursday, 21 January 2016

### Super Humans - John von Neumann

John von Neumann (/vɒn ˈnɔɪmən/; Hungarian: Neumann János (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈnɒjmɒn ˈjaːnoʃ ˈlɒjoʃ]; December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor, and polymath. He made major contributions to a number of fields, including mathematics (foundations of mathematics, functional analysis, ergodic theory, geometry, topology, and numerical analysis), physics (quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, fluid dynamics and quantum statistical mechanics), economics (game theory), computing (Von Neumann architecture, linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics. He was a pioneer of the application of operator theory to quantum mechanics, in the development of functional analysis, a principal member of the Manhattan Project and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (as one of the few originally appointed), and a key figure in the development of game theory and the concepts of cellular automata, the universal constructor and the digital computer. He published 150 papers in his life; 60 in pure mathematics, 20 in physics, and 60 in applied mathematics. His last work, an unfinished manuscript written while in the hospital, was later published in book form as The Computer and the Brain. Von Neumann's mathematical analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA. In a short list of facts about his life he submitted to the National Academy of Sciences, he stated "The part of my work I consider most essential is that on quantum mechanics, which developed in Göttingen in 1926, and subsequently in Berlin in 1927–1929. Also, my work on various forms of operator theory, Berlin 1930 and Princeton 1935–1939; on the ergodic theorem, Princeton, 1931–1932." During World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project with J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, developing the mathematical models behind the explosive lenses used in the implosion-type nuclear weapon. After the war, served on the General Advisory Committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and later as one of its commissioners. He was a consultant to a number of organizations, including the United States Air Force, the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Along with theoretical physicist Edward Teller, mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, and others, he worked out key steps in the nuclear physics involved in thermonuclear reactions and the hydrogen bomb.

Von Neumann was born Neumann János Lajos (in Hungarian the family name comes first), Hebrew name Yonah, in Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to wealthy Jewish parents of the Haskalah. He was the eldest of three children. He had two younger brothers: Michael, born in 1907, and Nicholas, who was born in 1911. His father, Neumann Miksa (Max Neumann) was a banker, who held a doctorate in law. He had moved to Budapest from Pécs at the end of the 1880s. Miksa's father and grandfather were both born in Ond (now part of the town of Szerencs), Zemplén County, northern Hungary. John's mother was Kann Margit (Margaret Kann); her parents were Jakab Kann and Katalin Meisels. Three generations of the Kann family lived in spacious apartments above the Kann-Heller offices in Budapest; von Neumann's family occupied an 18-room apartment on the top floor. In 1913, his father was elevated to the nobility for his service to the Austro-Hungarian Empire by Emperor Franz Joseph. The Neumann family thus acquired the hereditary appellation Margittai, meaning of Marghita. The family had no connection with the town; the appellation was chosen in reference to Margaret, as was those chosen coat of arms depicting three marguerites. Neumann János became Margittai Neumann János (John Neumann of Marghita), which he later changed to the German Johann von Neumann. Formal schooling did not start in Hungary until the age of ten. Instead, governesses taught von Neumann, his brothers and his cousins. Max believed that knowledge of languages other than Hungarian was essential, so the children were tutored in English, French, German and Italian. By the age of 8, von Neumann was familiar with differential and integral calculus, but he was particularly interested in history, reading his way through Wilhelm Oncken's Allgemeine Geschichte in Einzeldarstellungen. A copy was contained in a private library Max purchased. One of the rooms in the apartment was converted into a library and reading room, with bookshelves from ceiling to floor. Von Neumann entered the Lutheran Fasori Evangelikus Gimnázium in 1911. This was one of the best schools in Budapest, part of a brilliant education system designed for the elite. Under the Hungarian system, children received all their education at the one gymnasium. Despite being run by the Lutheran Church, the majority of its pupils were Jewish. The school system produced a generation noted for intellectual achievement, that included Theodore von Kármán (b. 1881), George de Hevesy (b. 1885), Leó Szilárd (b. 1898), Eugene Wigner (b. 1902), Edward Teller (b. 1908), and Paul Erdős (b. 1913). Collectively, they were sometimes known as Martians. Wigner was a year ahead of von Neumann at the Lutheran School. When asked why the Hungary of his generation had produced so many geniuses, Wigner, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, replied that von Neumann was the only genius. Although Max insisted von Neumann attend school at the grade level appropriate to his age, he agreed to hire private tutors to give him advanced instruction in those areas in which he had displayed an aptitude. At the age of 15, he began to study advanced calculus under the renowned analyst Gábor Szegő. On their first meeting, Szegő was so astounded with the boy's mathematical talent that he was brought to tears. Some of von Neumann's instant solutions to the problems in calculus posed by Szegő, sketched out on his father's stationery, are still on display at the von Neumann archive in Budapest. By the age of 19, von Neumann had published two major mathematical papers, the second of which gave the modern definition of ordinal numbers, which superseded Georg Cantor's definition. At the conclusion of his education at the gymnasium, von Neumann sat for and won the Eötvös Prize, a national prize for mathematics. Since there were few posts in Hungary for mathematicians, and those were not well-paid, his father wanted von Neumann to follow him into industry and therefore invest his time in a more financially useful endeavor than mathematics. So it was decided that the best career path was to become a chemical engineer. This was not something that von Neumann had much knowledge of, so it was arranged for him to take a two-year non-degree course in chemistry at the University of Berlin, after which he sat the entrance exam to the prestigious ETH Zurich, which he passed in September 1923. At the same time, von Neumann also entered Pázmány Péter University in Budapest, as a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics. For his thesis, he chose to produce an axiomatization of Cantor's set theory. He passed his final examinations for his Ph.D. soon after graduating from ETH Zurich in 1926. He then went to the University of Göttingen on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to study mathematics under David Hilbert.

### Super Humans - Praveen Kumar Gorakavi

Praveen Kumar Gorakavi (born May 24, 1989) is an inventor and former child prodigy. Praveen innovations span multiple scientific fields. He has developed a low-cost artificial limb, products for water purification, food storage, and biofuel synthesis. Praveen has recently designed a low-cost mechanical brailler to increase braille literacy in the developing world. Praveen received the award ‘Outstanding Engineer/Scientist for the year 2009-10’ from FAPCCI and is considered to be the youngest recipient of this award. Earlier to this, Praveen received India’s prestigious award ‘Balshree’ from President of India. He received one of the highest civilian awards of Andhra Pradesh state, Ugadi Gaurav Puraskar, from state government of Andhra Pradesh. Praveen was also awarded the ‘Best technologist – for disabled people empowerment’ by state government of Andhra Pradesh. Currently, Praveen is working on hybrid solar energy encapsulation technology, involving solar spectrum bifurcation and subsequent concentration, as a part of doctoral studies at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad, India. He is known especially for his efforts in supporting the people with disabilities.

How is he describing himself?

"I have been doing research since my childhood, that made Indian media call me a 'Child Prodigy'. I have continued the spirit of innovation even after receiving 'Balshree' title from President of India, which is one of the prestigious award for Indian children with creative skills. I have been working on multiple disciplines of engineering & sciences. Though a graduate of Chemical Engineering background, I have been recognized as a polymath for my contributions in various disciplines such as ammunition technology, artificial limb design, food preservation machine, bio-ethanol producing catalyst, nano-fertilizers and others. I am an established professional inventor, recognized by various scientific organisations of importance. I have received few prestigious awards such as AP State's 'Uugadi Gavrav Puraskar' from Chief Minister of AP, 'Best Engineer/Scientist for the state of AP' from Chief Minister of AP, 'Child Scientist title' from DST, 'Best Innovator for helping physically handicapped' from Chief Minister of AP, 'Bal Ratna award', 'Gayatri Putra', etc. I have a very close association with various research organisations, scientists, entrepreneurs, political dignitaries, public servants, NGOs, government bodies, etc., which makes me more thirsty for innovations."

His inventions:

-Designed 40,000 Years Calendar (combination of 32 different calendar models),

a common basis for perpetual calendar calculation that considers design progressions of different calendar varieties for identifying true values of the day variables from all major calendars.

-Developed Ammunition / Propellant Technology,

An ammunition technology, using wax as the primary composite for the propulsion, works for a significantly low cost when compared to the a hydrazine based system.

-Designed Artificial Leg (Above Knee) design,

artificial limb at significantly low cost when compared to the existing instruments, operated mechanically and has ‘Knee’ and ‘Ankle’ joint movement.

-Invented Food Storage Equipment,

Shelf life of food is extended by at least 130% by controlling certain airborne ionization radiations. Also, a natural antioxidant material from grape seeds has been extracted/developed.

-Designed Water-Purification Technology,

Water purification system, at significantly low cost as compared to existing system has been developed, using specially designed filtration sequence at low pressures.

-Developed Theory in High Energy further explaining the uncertainty of particle behavior, with respect to position and orientation in four dimensional aspects

-Developed Catalyst Design for Bio-Ethanol Synthesis,

A non-fermentation way for the synthesis of lignocellulose bioethanol has been developed for rapid reaction rates and higher precision of reaction.

-Designed Advanced Spectral Selective Bragg-Reflector Design,

-Designed Braille Embosser,

This low weight and low priced Braille embosser is intentionally designed to empower the written communication among blind community, disregarding their social or financial backdrop.

-Developed Multi-color Painter,

-Developed Nano-Fertilizers,

-Developed Color Coder Technology.

A color coder has potential to store a lot of data within, by using holographic planar reflection schema.

### Super Humans - Gabriel Drew Carroll

Gabriel Drew Carroll (born December 24, 1982) is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford University. He graduated from Harvard with B.A. in mathematics and linguistics in 2005 and received his doctorate in economics from MIT in 2012. He was recognized as a child prodigy and received numerous awards in mathematics while a student. Carroll won two gold medals (1998, 2001) and a silver medal (1999) at the International Mathematical Olympiad, earning a perfect score at the 2001 International Mathematical Olympiad held in Washington, D.C., shared only with American teammate Reid W. Barton and Chinese teammates Liang Xiao and Zhiqiang Zhang. Gabriel earned a place among the top five ranked competitors (who are themselves not ranked against each other) in the William Lowell Putnam Competition all four years that he was eligible (2000–2003), a feat matched by only seven others (Don Coppersmith (1968–1971), Arthur Rubin (1970–1973), Bjorn Poonen (1985–1988), Ravi Vakil (1988–1991), Reid W. Barton (2001–2004), Daniel Kane (2003–2006), and Brian R. Lawrence (2007–08, 2010–11). His top-5 performance in 2000 was particularly notable, as he was officially taking the exam in spite of only being a high school senior, thus forfeiting one of his years of eligibility in college. He was on the first place Putnam team twice (2001–02) and the second place team once (2003). He has earned awards in science and math, including the Intel Science Talent Search, has taught mathematics classes and tutorials, and plays the piano. He was a Research Science Institute scholar in 2000. Carroll proposed Problem 3 of IMO 2009 and Problem 3 of IMO 2010. He also proposes problems to the USAMO such as problem 3 in 2007, 2008, 2010 and problem 6 in 2009. During the 2005-06 academic year, he taught English in Chaling, Hunan, China. He worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 2006 to 2007. Gabriel Carroll is an alumnus of Oakland Technical High School and graduated from Harvard University in 2005 with degrees in Mathematics and Linguistics. He graduated from the Economics Department at MIT in 2012, and spent one year at Microsoft Research as a postdoctoral researcher during 2012-2013.

## Monday, 18 January 2016

### Von Neumann

I am working on a post about John Von Neuman, but funny enough, seems much easily to make a book than a short objective blog post about him.

### Super Humans - Erik D. Demaine

Erik D. Demaine (born February 28, 1981) is a professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former child prodigy. Demaine was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the artist sculptor Martin L. Demaine and Judy Anderson. Demaine was a child prodigy; at age 7, he spent time traveling North America with his father, and he was home-schooled until entering college at the age of 12. Demaine studied at Dalhousie University in Canada, completed his bachelor's degree at 14 years old, and completed his PhD at University of Waterloo when he was 20 years old. Demaine's PhD dissertation, a seminal work in the field of computational origami, was completed at the University of Waterloo. This work was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Gold Medal from the University of Waterloo and the NSERC Doctoral Prize (2003) for the best PhD thesis and research in Canada (one of four awards). This thesis work was largely incorporated into a book. Demaine joined the MIT faculty in 2001 at age 20, reportedly the youngest professor in the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[4][8] and was promoted to full professor in 2011. Demaine is a member of the Theory of Computation group at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Mathematical origami artwork by Erik and Martin Demaine was part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in 2008, and has been included in the MoMA permanent collection. That same year, he was one of the featured artists in Between the Folds, an international documentary film about origami practitioners which was later broadcast on PBS television.

### Super Humans - Akshay Venkatesh

Akshay Venkatesh (born 21 November 1981) is an Indian Australian mathematician. His research interests are in the fields of counting, equidistribution problems in automorphic forms and number theory, in particular representation theory, locally symmetric spaces and ergodic theory. He is the only Australian to have won medals at both the International Physics Olympiad and International Mathematics Olympiad, which he did at the age of 12. Raised in Perth, Western Australia, where he attended Scotch College, Venkatesh attended extracurricular training classes for gifted students in the state mathematical olympiad program. In 1993, whilst aged only 11, he competed at the 24th International Physics Olympiad in Williamsburg, Virginia, winning a bronze medal. The following year in 1994, he switched his attention to mathematics, and after placing second in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad, he won a silver medal in the 6th Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, before winning a bronze medal in the International Mathematics Olympiad held in Hong Kong that year. He completed his secondary education that year, turning 13 at the end of the year. He entered the University of Western Australia the following year as the youngest ever student at the institution and was awarded First Class Honours in Pure mathematics in 1997, the youngest ever to achieve this feat, as well as being awarded the J. A. Woods Memorial Prize for being the leading graduating student of the year. Venkatesh commenced his PhD at Princeton University in 1998 under Peter Sarnak, which he completed in 2002, producing the thesis Limiting forms of the trace formula. He was supported by the Hackett Fellowship for postgraduate study. He was then awarded a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a C.L.E. Moore instructor. Venkatesh then held a Clay Research Fellowship from the Clay Mathematics Institute from 2004 to 2006, and was an associate professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Since 1 September 2008, he has been a professor at Stanford University. Venkatesh was awarded the Salem Prize and the Packard Fellowship in 2007 and the 2008 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize. The $10,000 prize was given at the International Conference on Number Theory and Modular Forms, held at SASTRA University, Kumbakonam, Ramanujan's hometown. In 2010, he was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians (Hyderabad). Akshay Venkatesh has made contributions to a wide variety of areas in mathematics, including number theory, automorphic forms, representation theory, locally symmetric spaces and ergodic theory, by himself, and in collaboration with several mathematicians. Some samples:

– Using Ergodic methods, Venkatesh, jointly with Jordan Ellenberg, made significant progress on the Hasse principle for integral representations of quadratic forms by quadratic forms.

– In a series of join works with Manfred Einsiedler, Elon Lindenstrauss and Philippe Michel, Venkatesh revisited the Linnik ergodic method and solved a longstanding conjecture of Yuri Linnik on the distribution of torus orbits attached to cubic number fields.

– Venkatesh also provided a very novel and more direct way of establishing sub-convexity estimates for L-functions in numerous cases, going beyond the foundational work of Hardy-Littlewood-Weyl, Burgess, and Duke-Friedlander-Iwaniec that dealt with important special cases. This approach eventually resulted in the complete resolution by Venkatesh and Philippe Michel of the sub-convexity problem for GL(1) and GL(2) L-functions over general number fields.

## Saturday, 16 January 2016

### Two links for me

Mental note: Go to blog and read the two Pdf saved here:

http://www.unc.edu/peplab/publications/Catalino_Algoe_Fredrickson_2014.pdf

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/Lyubomirsky-PursingHappiness.pdf

http://www.unc.edu/peplab/publications/Catalino_Algoe_Fredrickson_2014.pdf

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/Lyubomirsky-PursingHappiness.pdf

### Super Humans - Terence Tao

Terence Tao, (born July 17, 1975, Adelaide, Australia), Australian mathematician awarded a Fields Medal in 2006 “for his contributions to partial differential equations, combinatorics, harmonic analysis and additive number theory.” Tao received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Flinders University of South Australia and a doctorate from Princeton University (1996), after which he joined the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tao’s work is characterized by a high degree of originality and a diversity that crosses research boundaries, together with an ability to work in collaboration with other specialists. His main field is the theory of partial differential equations. Those are the principal equations used in mathematical physics. For example, the nonlinear Schrödinger equation models light transmission in fibre optics. Despite the ubiquity of partial differential equations in physics, it is usually difficult to obtain or rigorously prove that such equations have solutions or that the solutions have the required properties. Along with that of several collaborators, Tao’s work on the nonlinear Schrödinger equation established crucial existence theorems. He also did important work on waves that can be applied to the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In work with the British mathematician Ben Green, Tao showed that the set of prime numbers contains arithmetic progressions of any length. For example, 5, 11, 17, 23, 29 is an arithmetic progression of five prime numbers, where successive numbers differ by 6. Standard arguments had indicated that arithmetic progressions in the set of primes might not be very long, so the discovery that they can be arbitrarily long was a profound discovery about the building blocks of arithmetic. Tao’s other awards include a Salem Prize (2000) and an American Mathematical Society Bocher Memorial Prize (2002).

Tao exhibited extraordinary mathematical abilities from an early age, attending university level mathematics courses at the age of 9. He and Lenhard Ng are the only two children in the history of the Johns Hopkins' Study of Exceptional Talent program to have achieved a score of 700 or greater on the SAT math section while just nine years old. Tao scored a 760. In 1986, 1987, and 1988, Tao was the youngest participant to date in the International Mathematical Olympiad, first competing at the age of ten, winning a bronze, silver, and gold medal respectively. He remains the youngest winner of each of the three medals in the Olympiad's history, winning the gold medal shortly after his thirteenth birthday. At age 14, Tao attended the Research Science Institute. When he was 15 he published his first assistant paper. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees at the age of 16 from Flinders University under Garth Gaudry. In 1992 he won a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake postgraduate study in the United States. From 1992 to 1996, Tao was a graduate student at Princeton University under the direction of Elias Stein, receiving his PhD at the age of 21. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996. When he was 24, he was promoted to full professor at UCLA and remains the youngest person ever appointed to that rank by the institution. Tao has two brothers living in Australia, both of whom represented Australia at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Nigel Tao was part of the team at Google Australia that created Google Wave. He now works on the Go programming language. Trevor Tao has a double degree in mathematics and music and is an autistic savant. If you are a mathematician,after you will read his maths blog, Tao will become almost a God in your eyes.

Tao exhibited extraordinary mathematical abilities from an early age, attending university level mathematics courses at the age of 9. He and Lenhard Ng are the only two children in the history of the Johns Hopkins' Study of Exceptional Talent program to have achieved a score of 700 or greater on the SAT math section while just nine years old. Tao scored a 760. In 1986, 1987, and 1988, Tao was the youngest participant to date in the International Mathematical Olympiad, first competing at the age of ten, winning a bronze, silver, and gold medal respectively. He remains the youngest winner of each of the three medals in the Olympiad's history, winning the gold medal shortly after his thirteenth birthday. At age 14, Tao attended the Research Science Institute. When he was 15 he published his first assistant paper. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees at the age of 16 from Flinders University under Garth Gaudry. In 1992 he won a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake postgraduate study in the United States. From 1992 to 1996, Tao was a graduate student at Princeton University under the direction of Elias Stein, receiving his PhD at the age of 21. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996. When he was 24, he was promoted to full professor at UCLA and remains the youngest person ever appointed to that rank by the institution. Tao has two brothers living in Australia, both of whom represented Australia at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Nigel Tao was part of the team at Google Australia that created Google Wave. He now works on the Go programming language. Trevor Tao has a double degree in mathematics and music and is an autistic savant. If you are a mathematician,after you will read his maths blog, Tao will become almost a God in your eyes.

### What i read lately?

* Interesting article about basics of intelligence and IQ, by Dr. C. George Boeree. Link here

** Do this test to find out more about why are you bored. Huh! Sometimes is interesting to study boredom. Link here

** Do this test to find out more about why are you bored. Huh! Sometimes is interesting to study boredom. Link here

## Monday, 11 January 2016

### Super Humans - Jay Luo

Jay Luo (born 1970), received his B.Sc. from Boise State University with honors in mathematics at the age of 12 to become the youngest university graduate in United States history. I managed to find an 1982 article from NY Times about him. Seems that his family considered his privacy very important for his development.

BOISE, Idaho, May 1, 1982— A professor of a senior-level college mathematics course says he has had bright young students before, but none like 12-year-old Jay Luo, who is about to become the youngest university graduate in United States history. In June, Jay will receive his degree in mathematics from Boise State University. He is already planning to do post-graduate work at Stanford University. ''He's the brightest 12-year-old I've ever been associated with,'' says Robert Hughes, who taught Jay a linear programming math course. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the youngest person to graduate from a United States college was Merrill Kenneth Wolf, who received his bachelor's degree in music from Yale in 1945, when he was 14. Jay enrolled at Boise State at the age of 9. In three years he has exceeded the requirements for a bachelor of science degree, maintaining a B-plus average, according to a Boise State spokesman, Larry Burke. The boy's father, Zong Luo, a computer engineer for Hewlett-Packard in Boise, enrolled his son at the university after reading an article in 1978 about exceptionally gifted students. The father, an American citizen of Taiwanese ancestry, sought out Boise State's Dr. William Mech, a former president of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Guiding Educational Force. Dr. Mech has been the boy's adviser and a guiding educational force in his life for the last three years. He has also been thrust into the role of the boy's spokesman because Jay's father has refused to allow his son to be interviewed. ''It's scary, it really is,'' Dr. Mech said of the boy's rapid progress. ''But somewhere, somebody has to take a stand and I believe this makes sense.'' Jay scored in the 98th percentile in mathematics and in the top 80 percent in verbal skills in the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He began his college career by taking two part-time courses in May 1979. By the end of the year, he had skipped junior and senior high school and was carrying more than a full load of college courses. Jay's rapid educational development has raised some unanswered questions about his future emotional and social well-being, according to Dr. Mech, who said he had agonized over the effects of moving Jay so far beyond his age group in academics. But Dr. Mech said he feels better about the decision each day. He also said he would not be surprised to see a Nobel Prize in the youngster's future if he changed from the field of mathematics. ''There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, he understands that,'' Dr. Mech said.

BOISE, Idaho, May 1, 1982— A professor of a senior-level college mathematics course says he has had bright young students before, but none like 12-year-old Jay Luo, who is about to become the youngest university graduate in United States history. In June, Jay will receive his degree in mathematics from Boise State University. He is already planning to do post-graduate work at Stanford University. ''He's the brightest 12-year-old I've ever been associated with,'' says Robert Hughes, who taught Jay a linear programming math course. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the youngest person to graduate from a United States college was Merrill Kenneth Wolf, who received his bachelor's degree in music from Yale in 1945, when he was 14. Jay enrolled at Boise State at the age of 9. In three years he has exceeded the requirements for a bachelor of science degree, maintaining a B-plus average, according to a Boise State spokesman, Larry Burke. The boy's father, Zong Luo, a computer engineer for Hewlett-Packard in Boise, enrolled his son at the university after reading an article in 1978 about exceptionally gifted students. The father, an American citizen of Taiwanese ancestry, sought out Boise State's Dr. William Mech, a former president of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Guiding Educational Force. Dr. Mech has been the boy's adviser and a guiding educational force in his life for the last three years. He has also been thrust into the role of the boy's spokesman because Jay's father has refused to allow his son to be interviewed. ''It's scary, it really is,'' Dr. Mech said of the boy's rapid progress. ''But somewhere, somebody has to take a stand and I believe this makes sense.'' Jay scored in the 98th percentile in mathematics and in the top 80 percent in verbal skills in the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He began his college career by taking two part-time courses in May 1979. By the end of the year, he had skipped junior and senior high school and was carrying more than a full load of college courses. Jay's rapid educational development has raised some unanswered questions about his future emotional and social well-being, according to Dr. Mech, who said he had agonized over the effects of moving Jay so far beyond his age group in academics. But Dr. Mech said he feels better about the decision each day. He also said he would not be surprised to see a Nobel Prize in the youngster's future if he changed from the field of mathematics. ''There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, he understands that,'' Dr. Mech said.

## Sunday, 10 January 2016

### Super Humans - Ruth Elke Lawrence-Naimark

Ruth Elke Lawrence-Naimark (Hebrew: רות אלקה לורנס-נאימרק, born 2 August 1971) is British mathematician and an Associate Professor of mathematics at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a researcher in knot theory and algebraic topology. Outside academia, she is best known for having been a child prodigy in mathematics.

Ruth Lawrence was born in Brighton, England. Her parents, Harry Lawrence and Sylvia Greybourne, were both computer consultants. When Lawrence was five, her father gave up his job so that he could educate her at home. At the age of nine, Lawrence gained an O-level in mathematics, setting a new age record (later surpassed in 2001 when Arran Fernandez successfully sat GCSE mathematics aged five). Also at the age of nine she achieved a Grade A at A-level Pure Mathematics. In 1981 Lawrence passed the Oxford University entrance examination in mathematics, coming first out of all 530 candidates sitting the examination, and joining St Hugh's College in 1983 at the age of just twelve. At Oxford, her father continued to be actively involved in her education, accompanying her to all lectures and some tutorials. Lawrence completed her bachelor's degree in two years, instead of the normal three, and graduated in 1985 at the age of 13 with a starred first and special commendation. Attracting considerable press interest, she became the youngest British person to gain a first-class degree, and the youngest to graduate from the University of Oxford in modern times. Lawrence followed her first degree with a second bachelor's degree in physics in 1986 and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in mathematics at Oxford in June 1989, at the age of 17. Her doctoral thesis title was Homology representations of braid groups and her thesis adviser was Sir Michael Atiyah. Lawrence's first academic post was at Harvard University, where she became a Junior Fellow in 1990 at the age of 19. In 1993, she moved to the University of Michigan, where she became an Associate Professor with tenure in 1997. In 1999, she took up the post of Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

### Super Humans - Sheila Sri Prakash

Sheila Sri Prakash (6 July 1955, Bhopal, India) is an architect and urban designer of Indian origin. She founded Shilpa Architects in Chennai, India in 1979 and was the first woman in India to have started and operated her own architectural firm. She has designed over 1200 completed architectural projects during her career in the last 35 years. She is a "pioneer" in architecture and "thought leader" for her work in Reciprocity or Holistic Sustainability. She was the first Indian Architect to serve on the World Economic Forum's 2011 Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation, a 16-member team of international experts in Design and Innovation, to formulate ways that improve the state of the world. She served on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the role of arts in society, in recognition of her signature works of Visionary architecture that feature art, culture and heritage. She is cited as a Starchitect for her iconic buildings and the canonical status of the architectural theories surrounding Reciprocity in Design. During the 2014 World Dance Day Celebration at the Tanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple (UNESCO world heritage monument), which she has been restoring upon commission from the Archaeological Survey of India, she was the Guest of Honor at an event presided by Padma Subrahmanyam and the Prince of Tanjavur - Sri Babaji Rajah Bhonsle Chattrapathy and was introduced as a "living legend in contemporary architecture". She has also been described as "one of the most versatile designers" of the modern era for her repertoire of award winning projects around the world. Her work ranges from the low-cost Reciprocal House for the socio-economically underprivileged that she designed on invitation from the World Bank in 1987: The Year of Shelter for the Shelterless, to pioneering energy efficient commercial buildings, custom bungalows, residential communities, integrated townships, industrial facilities, Art museums, sports stadiums, centers of education, public infrastructure and luxury hotels. She was named to the "Top 100" most influential architects in the world by it:Il Giornale dell'Architettura., She was named to the 50 most influential names in Architecture and Design in 2015 by Architectural Digest and listed among a category of "Reinventors" for having "built a formidable legacy" and an "inspirational practice that designs societies and not merely buildings or cities". As India’s foremost award-winning architect on the global stage, Sheila Sri Prakash is acknowledged as an international thought leader and as an innovative architect.

She was regarded as a child prodigy for her talent for the Arts from a very young age. She started learning Bharatanatyam when she was four years old and gave her first on-stage Arangetram performance when she was six years of age. She developed in to a critically acclaimed performing artist and had a prolific career in the Performing Arts between 1961 and 1984. Her versatile talent for the Arts range from Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Veenai, Classical Indian Music, Painting and Sculpting. Sheila Sri Prakash was born in Bhopal, India on 6 July 1955 to Lt. Col. G.K.S. Pathy, who was an officer in the Indian Army and S. Thangamma. She attended the Rosary Matriculation School in Chennai and attained a pre-university degree from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She enrolled in the Bachelors in Architecture from the Anna University School of Architecture and Planning in 1973, at a time when there was a strong bias against women entering the field. As an only child, she was encouraged to train in Classical Indian Dance, Music and the Arts from a very young age and started learning Bharatanatyam when she was just four years old. Sheila demonstrated an exemplary talent as a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer, while she also had an extraordinary gift for the Veenai musical instrument. Besides music and dance, she excelled at painting and sculpting. She performed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram to critical acclaim at the age of Six in Mumbai, under the training of Sri Kalyanasundaram Pillai, Govindaraya Pillai and Mahalingam Pillai. Padma Bhushan Dhanvanthi Rama Rau who presided over her Arangetram, was the first person to call her a child prodigy for her extraordinary talents. Over a period of nearly two decades as a performing artist,[56] Sheila gave several notable performances as a dancer of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. Her family moved to Chennai to give her greater opportunities in the Classical Arts and to be trained in Bharatanatyam by Sri Dandayudha Pani Pillai. At the age of eight she was recognized for her role as Krishna in Padma Bhushan Kumari Kamala's dance drama, "Nauka Charitram". Sheila played St. Thomas along with Padma Shri Padma Subrahmanyam in the dance drama "Thotta Nenjam." She was a disciple of the famous kuchipudi maestro, Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam and has the distinction of having been the protagonist in several of his dance dramas. Her performances with his leading disciples like Padma Shri Hema Malini, Padma Shri Shobha Naidu, Lakshmi Viswanathan and Rathnapapa in Krishna Parijatham won accolades. She performed the lead role of Shakuntala with Manju Bhargavi in the dance drama Shakunthalam, which was an adaptation of the story in Mahabarata and dramatized by Kalidasa. As a Veenai artist, she has the distinction of playing, composing and recording Radha Madhavam and Sivaleela Vilasam with the world-renowned Veenai musician – Chitti Babu. She is noted for using local arts, culture and heritage as a feature of architectural design. She is the foremost contemporary Indian architect to use Indian art and culture as an integral driver of design, to achieve Reciprocity or Holistic Sustainability. She continues to be an active patron of the Arts.

## Thursday, 7 January 2016

### Super Humans - Charles Louis Fefferman

Charles Louis Fefferman (born April 18, 1949) is an American mathematician at Princeton University. His primary field of research is mathematical analysis. A child prodigy, Fefferman entered college by the age of eleven and had written his first scientific paper by the age of 15 in German. After receiving his bachelor's degrees in physics and mathematics at the age of 17 from the University of Maryland and a PhD in mathematics at 20 from Princeton University under Elias Stein, Fefferman achieved a full professorship at the University of Chicago at the age of 22. This made him the youngest full professor ever appointed in the United States. At 24, he returned to Princeton to assume a full professorship there — a position he still holds. He won the Alan T. Waterman Award in 1976 (the first person to get the award) and the Fields Medal in 1978 for his work in mathematical analysis. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1979. He was appointed the Herbert Jones Professor at Princeton in 1984. In addition to the above, his honors include the Salem Prize, the Bôcher Memorial Prize, and the Bergman Prize, as well as election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fefferman contributed several innovations that revised the study of multidimensional complex analysis by finding fruitful generalisations of classical low-dimensional results. Fefferman's work on partial differential equations, Fourier analysis, in particular convergence, multipliers, divergence, singular integrals and Hardy spaces earned him a Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians at Helsinki in 1978. His early work included a study of the asymptotics of the Bergman kernel off the boundaries of pseudoconvex domains in \mathbb C^n. He has studied mathematical physics, harmonic analysis, fluid dynamics, neural networks, geometry, mathematical finance and spectral analysis, amongst others.

Charles Fefferman and his wife Julie have two daughters, Nina and Lainie. Lainie Fefferman is a composer, taught math at Saint Ann's School (New York City) and holds a degree in music from Yale University as well as a Ph.D. in music composition from Princeton. She has an interest in Middle Eastern music.[ Nina is a computational biologist whose research is concerned with the application of mathematical models to complex biological systems. Charles Fefferman's brother, Robert Fefferman, is also an accomplished mathematician and former Dean of the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. Fefferman has published several articles. His most cited papers include, in the order of citations:

-(with E. Stein) "Hp spaces of several variables", Acta Mathematica (1972).

-(with R. Coifman) "Weighted norm inequalities for maximal functions and singular integrals", Studia Mathematica (1974).

-(with E. Stein) "Some maximal inequalities", American Journal of Mathematics (1971).

-"The Bergman kernel and biholomorphic mappings of pseudoconvex domains", Inventiones mathematicae (1974).

-"The uncertainty principle", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society (1983). ("online article". MR 707957.)

"Inequalities for strongly singular convolution operators", Acta Mathematica (1970).

(with P. Constantin and A. Majda) "Geometric constraints on potentially singular solutions for the 3-D Euler equations", Communications in Partial Differential Equations (1996).

"The multiplier problem for the ball", Annals of Mathematics (1971).

### Super Humans - Per H. Enflo

Per H. Enflo (Swedish: [ˌpæːɹ ˈeːnfluː]; born 1944) is a mathematician who has solved fundamental problems in functional analysis. Three of these problems had been open for more than forty years.

The basis problem and the approximation problem and later the invariant subspace problem for Banach spaces. In solving these problems, Enflo developed new techniques which were then used by other researchers in functional analysis and operator theory for years. Some of Enflo's research has been important also in other mathematical fields, such as number theory, and in computer science, especially computer algebra and approximation algorithms. Enflo works at Kent State University, where he holds the title of University Professor. Enflo has earlier held positions at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, École Polytechnique, (Paris) and The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Enflo is also a concert pianist.

The basis problem and the approximation problem and later the invariant subspace problem for Banach spaces. In solving these problems, Enflo developed new techniques which were then used by other researchers in functional analysis and operator theory for years. Some of Enflo's research has been important also in other mathematical fields, such as number theory, and in computer science, especially computer algebra and approximation algorithms. Enflo works at Kent State University, where he holds the title of University Professor. Enflo has earlier held positions at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, École Polytechnique, (Paris) and The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Enflo is also a concert pianist.

### Super Humans - Ted Kaczynski

Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski (/kəˈzɪnski/; born May 22, 1942), also known as the "Unabomber", is an American anarchist and serial murderer. Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski engaged in a nationwide bombing campaign against people involved with modern technology, planting or mailing numerous homemade bombs, ultimately killing a total of three people and injuring 23 others. He is also known for his wide-ranging social critiques, which opposed industrialization and modern technology while advancing a nature-centered form of anarchism. Kaczynski was born and raised in Evergreen Park, Illinois. While growing up in Evergreen Park he was a child prodigy, excelling academically from an early age. Kaczynski was accepted into Harvard University at the age of 16, where he earned an undergraduate degree. He subsequently earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 at age 25. He resigned two years later. As a Harvard undergraduate, Kaczynski was among twenty-two students who were research subjects in ethically questionable experiments (possibly part of Project MKUltra) conducted by psychology professor Henry Murray from late 1959 to early 1962. In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. 17 years after beginning his mail bomb campaign, Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised "to desist from terrorism" if the Times or the Washington Post published his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto"), in which he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. The Unabomber was the target of one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's costliest investigations. Before Kaczynski's identity was known, the FBI used the title "UNABOM" (UNiversity & Airline BOMber) to refer to his case, which resulted in the media calling him the Unabomber. The FBI (as well as Attorney General Janet Reno) pushed for the publication of Kaczynski's "Manifesto", which led to his sister-in-law, and then his brother, recognizing Kaczynski's style of writing and beliefs from the manifesto, and tipping off the FBI. Kaczynski tried unsuccessfully to dismiss his court appointed lawyers because they wanted to plead insanity in order to avoid the death penalty, as Kaczynski did not believe he was insane. When it became clear that his pending trial would entail national television exposure for Kaczynski, the court entered a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. He has been designated a "domestic terrorist" by the FBI.[10] Some anarcho-primitivist authors, such as John Zerzan and John Moore, have come to his defense, while also holding some reservations about his actions and ideas.

Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Evergreen Park, Illinois, to second-generation Polish Americans Wanda (née Dombek) and Theodore Richard Kaczynski. At nine months of age, Kaczynski's body was covered in hives. He was placed in isolation in a hospital where visitors were not allowed, as physicians were unsure of the cause of the hives. He was treated several times at the hospital over an eight-month period. His mother wrote in March 1943, "Baby home from hospital and is healthy but quite unresponsive after his experience." Kaczynski attended grades one through eight in Evergreen Park District 124 Schools. As a result of testing conducted in the fifth grade, which determined he had an IQ of 167, he was allowed to skip the sixth grade and enroll in the seventh grade. Kaczynski described this as a pivotal event in his life. He recalled not fitting in with the older children and being subjected to their bullying. As a child, Kaczynski had a fear of people and buildings, and played beside other children rather than interacting with them. His mother was so worried by his poor social development that she considered entering him in a study for autistic children led by Bruno Bettelheim. He attended high school at Evergreen Park Community High School. Kaczynski excelled academically, but found the mathematics too simple during his second year. Sometimes he would cut classes and write in his journal in his room. During this period of his life, Kaczynski became obsessed with mathematics, spending prolonged hours locked in his room practicing differential equations. Throughout secondary schooling, Kaczynski had far surpassed his classmates, able to solve advanced Laplace transforms before his senior year. He was subsequently placed in a more advanced mathematics class, yet still felt intellectually restricted. Kaczynski soon mastered the material and skipped the eleventh grade. With the help of a summer school course for English, he completed his high school education when he was 15 years old. He was encouraged to apply to Harvard University, and was subsequently accepted as a student beginning in 1958 at the age of 16. While at Harvard, Kaczynski was taught by famed logician Willard Van Orman Quine, scoring at the top of Quine's class with a 98.9% final grade.

He also participated in a personality assessment study conducted by Henry Murray, an expert on stress interviews. These experiments may have been part of the controversial, top-secret CIA program that was later revealed as Project MKUltra. Students in Murray's study were told they would be debating personal philosophy with a fellow student. Instead, they were subjected to a "purposely brutalizing psychological experiment". During the test, students were taken into a room and connected to electrodes that monitored their physiological reactions, while facing bright lights and a one-way mirror. Each student had previously written an essay detailing their personal beliefs and aspirations: the essays were turned over to an anonymous attorney, who would enter the room and individually belittle each student based in part on the disclosures they had made. This was filmed, and students' expressions of impotent rage were played back to them several times later in the study. According to author Alston Chase, Kaczynski's records from that period suggest he was emotionally stable when the study began. Kaczynski's lawyers attributed some of his emotional instability and dislike of mind control techniques to his participation in this study. Indeed, some have suggested that this experience may have been instrumental in Kaczynski's future actions. Kaczynski graduated from Harvard University in 1962, at age 20, and subsequently enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in mathematics. Kaczynski's specialty was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory. His professors at Michigan were impressed with his intellect and drive. "He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students," said Peter Duren, one of Kaczynski's math professors at Michigan. "He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth." "It is not enough to say he was smart," said George Piranian, another of his Michigan math professors. Kaczynski earned his PhD with his thesis entitled "Boundary Functions" by solving a problem so difficult that Piranian could not figure it out. Maxwell Reade, a retired math professor who served on Kaczynski's dissertation committee, also commented on his thesis by noting, "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it." In 1967, Kaczynski won the University of Michigan's Sumner B. Myers Prize, which recognized his dissertation as the school's best in mathematics that year. While a graduate student at Michigan, he held a National Science Foundation fellowship and taught undergraduates for three years. He also published two articles related to his dissertation in mathematical journals, and four more after leaving Michigan. In late 1967, Kaczynski became an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught undergraduate courses in geometry and calculus. He was also noted as the youngest professor ever hired by the university, but this position proved short-lived. Kaczynski received numerous complaints and low ratings from the undergraduates he taught. Many students noted that he seemed quite uncomfortable in a teaching environment, often stuttering and mumbling during lectures, becoming excessively nervous in front of a class, and ignoring students during designated office hours. Without explanation, he resigned from his position in 1969, at age 26. The chairman of the mathematics department, J. W. Addison, called this a "sudden and unexpected" resignation, while vice chairman Calvin Moore said that given Kaczynski's "impressive" thesis and record of publications, "He could have advanced up the ranks and been a senior member of the faculty today."

## Wednesday, 6 January 2016

### Super Humans - William James Sidis

A genius among us: the sad story of William James Sidis

By Matt Blitz

Before the terms “Tiger Mom” or “Helicopter Mom” entered our vernacular. Before the moms on “Toddlers and Tiaras” tried to turn their daughters into beauty queens. Before Earl Woods showed off his two year old son Tiger’s golf skills on the Mike Douglas Show. Before Lindsay Lohan’s dad, the mother in Psycho, and every other overbearing parent we know from modern pop culture, there was William J. Sidis and his mom and dad. Boris and Sarah Sidis were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants who were both brilliant. Having fled the Ukrainian due to political and religious persecution, they decided to settle in New York City. Boris was a psychologist who quickly became known (and somewhat infamous) for his work with hypnosis and his studying of mental disorders. Sarah was a doctor who was one of the only women of her time to earn a medical degree. Both had highly successful careers, but they wanted children. So, on April 1, 1898, Sarah gave birth to the couple’s first child, William James Sidis. Combining Boris and Sarah’s genes alone should have been enough to produce a very smart child, but they didn’t want merely a smart child. They wanted a genius. William’s education began in his very first days on Earth. Sarah quit her job practicing medicine to mold their son into the image they had in mind for him. They used the family’s life savings to buy books, supplies, and any other tool they needed to encourage their son. Utilizing Boris’s innovative psychology techniques, William was taught to recognize and pronounce letters from the alphabet within months. He was using words like “door” at six months. He became dexterous enough to feed himself with a spoon at eight months. His parents were proud of their son, but possibly more proud that Boris’s techniques in teaching his son were working, constantly publishing academic papers showing off their successes. By two years old, William was reading the New York Times and tapping out letters on a typewriter from his high-chair – in both English and French. He wrote one such letter to Macy’s, inquiring about toys. Unfortunately, his time to act like a child had already passed young William by. Studying seven different languages (French, German, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Russian, and one he made up himself – Vendergood) and learning a high school curriculum at seven left Billy precious little time to act his age. His parents wanted the whole world to know about their prodigal son, as well as their participation in all of it. He was accepted into Harvard at age nine, but the university refused to allow him to attend due to him being “emotionally immature.” His parents took this perceived slight to the media and William was front page news in the New York Times. This gave William the notoriety and fame he was not prepared for. Tufts College, though, did admit him and he spent his time correcting mistakes in math books and attempting to find errors in Einstein’s theory of relativity. His parents pressed Harvard further and when William turned eleven, they relented. William Sidis became a student at one of the most prestigious universities on Earth at the age most kids were perfectly content playing stick ball and not worrying about giving a dissertation on the fourth dimension. On a freezing Boston January evening in 1910, hundreds gathered to hear the boy genius William Sidis in his first public speaking engagement, a talk about fourth dimensional bodies. His speech, and the fact that it was over most of the audiences’ heads, became national news. Reporters followed William everywhere on campus. He rarely had a private moment. He graduated from Harvard at the age of 16, cum laude. Despite his success, Harvard was not a happy experience for young Billy. According to Sidis biographer Amy Wallace, William once admitted to college students nearly double his age that he had never kissed a girl. He was teased and humiliated for his honesty. At his graduation, he told the gathered reporters that, “I want to live the perfect life. The only way to live the perfect life is to live it in seclusion. I have always hated crowds.” After leaving Harvard, society and his parents expected great things from William. He briefly studied and taught mathematics at what later would become known as Rice University in Houston, Texas. His fame and the fact that he was younger than every student he taught made it difficult on him. He resigned and moved back to Boston. He attempted to get a law degree at Harvard, but he soon withdrew from the program. William, brilliant as he was, struggled with his own self-identity. In May 1919, he was arrested for being a ringleader of an anti-draft, communistic-leaning demonstration. He was put in jail and that’s where he would meet the only woman he would love – an Irish socialist named Martha Foley. Their relationship was rather complicated, mostly due to William’s own declaration of love, art, and sex as agents of an “imperfect life.” When in court, he announced that he didn’t believe in God, that he admired a socialist form of government, and many of the world’s troubles could be traced back to capitalism. He was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Fortunately for him, his parents’ influence kept him out prison, but William decided he’d had enough of “crowds” and wanted his “perfect life.” He moved city to city, job to job, always changing his name to keep from being discovered. During this time, it’s believed he wrote dozens of books under pseudonyms (none of which were particularly well read), including a twelve hundred page work on America’s history and a book entitled “Notes on the Collection of Streetcar Transfers,” an extremely in-depth look at his hobby of collecting streetcar transfers. It was described by one biographer as the “most boring book ever written.” In another of his books, he divulges a theory on what later would become known as “the black hole theory.” Seclusion fit William just fine. He wanted nothing more than him and his genius to be left alone. In 1924, no longer talking to his parents and out of contact with anyone who truly cared for him, the press caught up to William. A series of articles were printed describing the mundane jobs and the measly living conditions the supposed-genius William Sidis had. Ashamed and distressed, he withdrew further into the shadows. But the public remained infatuated with the former boy wonder’s apparently wasted talents. In 1937, The New Yorker printed an article titled “April Fool!” which described William’s fall from grace in humiliating detail. The story resulted from a female reporter who had been sent to befriend William. In it, it described William as “childlike” and recounted a story about how he wept at work when given too much to do. Sidis sued the New Yorker for libel and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, before they eventually settled seven years later. But the damage had been done. William Sidis, for all the potential he showed as a child prodigy, would never become the man he was supposed to be. On a summer day in July 1944, William’s landlady found him unconscious in his small Boston apartment. He had had a massive stroke, his amazing brain dying on the inside. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the age of 46 with a picture of the now-married Martha Foley in his wallet.

## Tuesday, 5 January 2016

### Super Humans - Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener (November 26, 1894 – March 18, 1964) was an American mathematician and philosopher. He was professor of mathematics at MIT. A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems. Wiener is considered the originator of cybernetics, a formalization of the notion of feedback, with implications for engineering, systems control, computer science, biology, neuroscience, philosophy, and the organization of society.

Wiener was born in Columbia, Missouri, the first child of Leo Wiener and Bertha Kahn, Jews of Polish and German origin, respectively. Leo had educated Norbert at home until 1903, employing teaching methods of his own invention, except for a brief interlude when Norbert was seven years of age. Earning his living teaching German and Slavic languages, Leo read widely and accumulated a personal library from which the young Norbert benefited greatly. Leo also had ample ability in mathematics and tutored his son in the subject until he left home. In his autobiography, Norbert described his father as calm and patient, unless he (Norbert) failed to give a correct answer, at which his father would lose his temper. He became an agnostic. After graduating from Ayer High School in 1906 at 11 years of age, Wiener entered Tufts College. He was awarded a BA in mathematics in 1909 at the age of 14, whereupon he began graduate studies of zoology at Harvard. In 1910 he transferred to Cornell to study philosophy. The next year he returned to Harvard, while still continuing his philosophical studies. Back at Harvard, Wiener became influenced by Edward Vermilye Huntington, whose mathematical interests ranged from axiomatic foundations to engineering problems. Harvard awarded Wiener a Ph.D. in 1912, when he was merely 17 years old, for a dissertation on mathematical logic, supervised by Karl Schmidt, the essential results of which were published as Wiener (1914). In that dissertation, he was the first to state publicly that ordered pairs can be defined in terms of elementary set theory. Hence relations can be defined by set theory, thus the theory of relations does not require any axioms or primitive notions distinct from those of set theory. In 1921, Kazimierz Kuratowski proposed a simplification of Wiener's definition of ordered pairs, and that simplification has been in common use ever since. It is (x, y) = {{x}, {x, y}}. In 1914, Wiener traveled to Europe, to be taught by Bertrand Russell and G. H. Hardy at Cambridge University, and by David Hilbert and Edmund Landau at the University of Göttingen. During 1915–16, he taught philosophy at Harvard, then was an engineer for General Electric and wrote for the Encyclopedia Americana. Wiener was briefly a journalist for the Boston Herald, where he wrote a feature story on the poor labor conditions for mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, but he was fired soon afterwards for his reluctance to write favorable articles about a politician the newspaper's owners sought to promote. Although Wiener eventually became a staunch pacifist, he eagerly contributed to the war effort in World War I. In 1916, with America's entry into the war drawing closer, Wiener attended a training camp for potential military officers, but failed to earn a commission. One year later Wiener again tried to join the military, but the government again rejected him due to his poor eyesight. In the summer of 1918, Oswald Veblen invited Wiener to work on ballistics at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Living and working with other mathematicians strengthened his interest in mathematics. However, Wiener was still eager to serve in uniform, and decided to make one more attempt to enlist, this time as a common soldier. Wiener wrote in a letter to his parents, "I should consider myself a pretty cheap kind of a swine if I were willing to be an officer but unwilling to be a soldier." This time the army accepted Wiener into its ranks and assigned him, by coincidence, to a unit stationed at Aberdeen, Maryland. World War I ended just days after Wiener's return to Aberdeen and Wiener was discharged from the military in February 1919. Norbert Wiener was regarded as a semi-legendary figure at MIT. Wiener was unable to secure a permanent position at Harvard, a situation he blamed largely on anti-semitism at the university and in particular on the antipathy of Harvard mathematician G. D. Birkhoff. He was also rejected for a position at the University of Melbourne. At W. F. Osgood's suggestion, Wiener became an instructor of mathematics at MIT, where he spent the remainder of his career, becoming promoted eventually to Professor. There is a photograph of him prominently displayed in one of the hallways, often used in giving directions. In 1926, Wiener returned to Europe as a Guggenheim scholar. He spent most of his time at Göttingen and with Hardy at Cambridge, working on Brownian motion, the Fourier integral, Dirichlet's problem, harmonic analysis, and the Tauberian theorems. In 1926, Wiener's parents arranged his marriage to a German immigrant, Margaret Engemann; they had two daughters. His sister, Constance, married Philip Franklin. Their daughter, Janet, Wiener's niece, married Václav E. Beneš. Many tales, perhaps apocryphal, were told of him at MIT, especially concerning his absent-mindedness. It was said that he returned home once to find his house empty. He inquired of a neighborhood girl the reason, and she said that the family had moved elsewhere that day. He thanked her for the information and she replied, "That's why I stayed behind, Daddy!".

### Super Humans - Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar FRS (pronunciation: Listeni/sriːnivɑːsə rɑːmɑːnʊdʒən/) (22 December 1887 – 26 April 1920) was an Indian mathematician and autodidact who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. Ramanujan initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation; it was quickly recognized by Indian mathematicians. When his skills became apparent to the wider mathematical community, centred in Europe at the time, he began a famous partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy. He rediscovered previously known theorems in addition to producing new theorems.

During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations). Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct, although some were already known. He stated results that were both original and highly unconventional, such as the Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function, and these have inspired a vast amount of further research. The Ramanujan Journal, an international publication, was launched to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by his work. Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887 in Erode, Madras Presidency (now Pallipalayam, Erode, Tamil Nadu), at the residence of his maternal grandparents in a Brahmin family. His father, K. Srinivasa Iyengar, worked as a clerk in a sari shop and hailed from the district of Thanjavur. His mother, Komalatammal, was a housewife and also sang at a local temple. They lived in Sarangapani Street in a traditional home in the town of Kumbakonam. The family home is now a museum. When Ramanujan was a year and a half old, his mother gave birth to a son named Sadagopan, who died less than three months later. In December 1889, Ramanujan had smallpox and recovered, unlike thousands in the Thanjavur District who died from the disease that year. He moved with his mother to her parents' house in Kanchipuram, near Madras (now Chennai). In November 1891, and again in 1894, his mother gave birth to two children, but both children died in infancy. On 1 October 1892, Ramanujan was enrolled at the local school. In March 1894, he was moved to a Tamil medium school. After his maternal grandfather lost his job as a court official in Kanchipuram, Ramanujan and his mother moved back to Kumbakonam and he was enrolled in the Kangayan Primary School. When his paternal grandfather died, he was sent back to his maternal grandparents, who were then living in Madras. He did not like school in Madras, and he tried to avoid attending. His family enlisted a local constable to make sure he attended school. Within six months, Ramanujan was back in Kumbakonam. Since Ramanujan's father was at work most of the day, his mother took care of him as a child. He had a close relationship with her. From her, he learned about tradition and puranas. He learned to sing religious songs, to attend pujas at the temple, and to keep particular eating habits – all of which are part of Brahmin culture. At the Kangayan Primary School, Ramanujan performed well. Just before the age of 10, in November 1897, he passed his primary examinations in English, Tamil, geography and arithmetic. With his scores, he stood first in the district. That year, Ramanujan entered Town Higher Secondary School where he encountered formal mathematics for the first time. By age 11, he had exhausted the mathematical knowledge of two college students who were lodgers at his home. He was later lent a book on advanced trigonometry written by S. L. Loney. He completely mastered this book by the age of 13 and discovered sophisticated theorems on his own. By 14, he was receiving merit certificates and academic awards which continued throughout his school career and also assisted the school in the logistics of assigning its 1200 students (each with their own needs) to its 35-odd teachers. He completed mathematical exams in half the allotted time, and showed a familiarity with geometry and infinite series. Ramanujan was shown how to solve cubic equations in 1902 and he went on to find his own method to solve the quartic. The following year, not knowing that the quintic could not be solved by radicals, he tried to solve the quintic. In 1903 when he was 16, Ramanujan obtained from a friend a library-loaned copy of a book by G. S. Carr. The book was titled A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics and was a collection of 5000 theorems. Ramanujan reportedly studied the contents of the book in detail. The book is generally acknowledged as a key element in awakening the genius of Ramanujan. The next year, he had independently developed and investigated the Bernoulli numbers and had calculated the Euler–Mascheroni constant up to 15 decimal places. His peers at the time commented that they "rarely understood him" and "stood in respectful awe" of him. When he graduated from Town Higher Secondary School in 1904, Ramanujan was awarded the K. Ranganatha Rao prize for mathematics by the school's headmaster, Krishnaswami Iyer. Iyer introduced Ramanujan as an outstanding student who deserved scores higher than the maximum possible marks. He received a scholarship to study at Government Arts College, Kumbakonam, However, Ramanujan was so intent on studying mathematics that he could not focus on any other subjects and failed most of them, losing his scholarship in the process. In August 1905, he ran away from home, heading towards Visakhapatnam and stayed in Rajahmundry for about a month. He later enrolled at Pachaiyappa's College in Madras. He again excelled in mathematics but performed poorly in other subjects such as physiology. Ramanujan failed his Fellow of Arts exam in December 1906 and again a year later. Without a degree, he left college and continued to pursue independent research in mathematics. At this point in his life, he lived in extreme poverty and was often on the brink of starvation. On 14 July 1909, Ramanujan was married to a ten-year-old bride, Srimathia Janki (Janakiammal), She came from Rajendram, a village close to Marudur (Karur district) Railway Station. Ramanujan's father did not participate in the marriage ceremony. After the marriage, Ramanujan developed a hydrocele testis, an abnormal swelling of the tunica vaginalis, an internal membrane in the testicle. The condition could be treated with a routine surgical operation that would release the blocked fluid in the scrotal sac. His family did not have the money for the operation, but in January 1910, a doctor volunteered to do the surgery for free. After his successful surgery, Ramanujan searched for a job. He stayed at friends' houses while he went door to door around the city of Madras (now Chennai) looking for a clerical position. To make some money, he tutored some students at Presidency College who were preparing for their F.A. exam. In late 1910, Ramanujan was sick again, possibly as a result of the surgery earlier in the year. He feared for his health, and even told his friend, R. Radakrishna Iyer, to "hand these [Ramanujan's mathematical notebooks] over to Professor Singaravelu Mudaliar [the mathematics professor at Pachaiyappa's College] or to the British professor Edward B. Ross, of the Madras Christian College." After Ramanujan recovered and retrieved his notebooks from Iyer, he took a northbound train from Kumbakonam to Villupuram, a coastal city under French control. Ramanujan boarded the S.S. Nevasa on 17 March 1914, and at 10 o'clock in the morning, the ship departed from Madras. He arrived in London on 14 April, with E. H. Neville waiting for him with a car. Four days later, Neville took him to his house on Chesterton Road in Cambridge. Ramanujan immediately began his work with Littlewood and Hardy. After six weeks, Ramanujan moved out of Neville's house and took up residence on Whewell's Court, just a five-minute walk from Hardy's room. Hardy and Littlewood began to take a look at Ramanujan's notebooks. Hardy had already received 120 theorems from Ramanujan in the first two letters, but there were many more results and theorems to be found in the notebooks. Hardy saw that some were wrong, others had already been discovered, while the rest were new breakthroughs. Ramanujan left a deep impression on Hardy and Littlewood. Littlewood commented, "I can believe that he's at least a Jacobi", while Hardy said he "can compare him only with [Leonhard] Euler or Jacobi." Ramanujan spent nearly five years in Cambridge collaborating with Hardy and Littlewood and published a part of his findings there. Hardy and Ramanujan had highly contrasting personalities. Their collaboration was a clash of different cultures, beliefs and working styles. Hardy was an atheist and an apostle of proof and mathematical rigour, whereas Ramanujan was a deeply religious man and relied very strongly on his intuition. While in England, Hardy tried his best to fill the gaps in Ramanujan's education without interrupting his spell of inspiration. Ramanujan was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree by research (this degree was later renamed PhD) in March 1916 for his work on highly composite numbers, the first part of which was published as a paper in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. The paper was over 50 pages with different properties of such numbers proven. Hardy remarked that this was one of the most unusual papers seen in mathematical research at that time and that Ramanujan showed extraordinary ingenuity in handling it. On 6 December 1917, he was elected to the London Mathematical Society. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918, becoming the second Indian to do so, following Ardaseer Cursetjee in 1841, and at age 31 he was one of the youngest Fellows in the history of the Royal Society. He was elected "for his investigation in Elliptic functions and the Theory of Numbers." On 13 October 1918, he became the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Ramanujan was plagued by health problems throughout his life. Now he was living in a country far away from home, and obsessively involved with his mathematics. His health worsened in England, perhaps exacerbated by stress and by the scarcity of vegetarian food during the First World War. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and a severe vitamin deficiency and was confined to a sanatorium. Ramanujan returned to Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency in 1919 and died soon thereafter at the age of 32 in 1920. His widow, S. Janaki Ammal, moved to Mumbai, but returned to Chennai (formerly Madras) in 1950, where she lived until her death at age 95 in 1994. A 1994 analysis of Ramanujan's medical records and symptoms by Dr. D.A.B. Young concluded that it was much more likely he had hepatic amoebiasis, a parasitic infection of the liver widespread in Madras, where Ramanujan had spent time. He had two episodes of dysentery before he left India. When not properly treated, dysentery can lie dormant for years and lead to hepatic amoebiasis, a difficult disease to diagnose, but once diagnosed readily cured.

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