Not bad. How about showing Americans kids how dumb they are? Via the Herald Sun:

Shouryya Ray is the first person to work out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

The Indian-born teen said he solved the problem that had stumped mathematicians for centuries while working on a school project.

Shouryya won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a genius by the German media, but he put it down to “curiosity and schoolboy naivety.”

“When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, ‘well, there’s no harm in trying,'” he said. Shouryya’s family moved to Germany when he was 12 after his engineer father got a job at a technical college. He said his father instilled in him a “hunger for mathematics” and taught him calculus at the age of six.

He figured that out, and I can’t even figure out what he figured out.

AllHailCaptainCraperica

He is a German of Indian descent. How does this prove that American kids aren’t obese and/or dumb?

AllHaiICaptainCraperica

Uh, nevermind, didn’t read the second phrase right. Serves me right. Gonna go get another soda.

Raz

Good for him, this competition of whose country’s is superior, “the one to led other countries” is just plain fake. People should just be proud that there’s still someone smart enough to inovate in something.

Andrew

Perhaps he could rewrite the headline.

Investinourftre

You have got to be kidding me. I have been working on this for 3 years now, damn meddling teenagers.

emperorreagan

On reddit, they note previous implicit solutions: http://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/u74no/supposedly_this_is_a_new_formula_for_calculating/c4t4wmq and more journal articles are pointed to in other places (including a reference on the kid’s poster, apparently).So while neat, this is probably a kid using overblown language in his presentation and an overzealous science reporter blowing it up further because of the human interest angle (16 year old kid solves impossible problem!).

It does make me curious, though. I would think there are a number of “unsolved problems” that fall into the following category:

Partially solved in the existing literature, where solutions have been developed to the point required to be useful for a particular applications but not carried them through (i.e. more convenient to input into a software package). With computing power being so inexpensive and so many simply, powerful software packages available, physicists and engineers are more likely to just use numerical methods on the ODEs rather than trying to reduce it to some other form before obtaining a numerical solution.

And since the only people really using these equations are scientists and engineers, it’s probably not really on mathematicians’ radars – thus, no one is working on formal, complete solutions and leaving the problems “unsolved.”

http://www.soundcloud.com/myconica Threedinium

Well, the immedate thought I had when reading the headline was ‘Well I bloody hope someone 300 years advanced would be able to solve a riddle from that long ago’, and the rest of the article just seemed like a huge father-son circlejerk.

And the ‘solutions will probably be used mainly in ballistics’ made my paranoia sense tingle.

First of all, this kid is not American! So, it’s another foreign kid that makes American kids look… dumb!
American suffers from a brain drain! Is anyone awake?