A 16-year-old Indian boy studying in Germany has solved a problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton 350 years ago. Shouryya Ray solved two problems in particle dynamics that scientist have — until now — only been able to find partial solutions for using computers.
Ray has been hailed as a genius for solving the problems, which will now allow scientists to predict the trajectory of a ball thrown against a wall, taking into account gravity and air resistance.
Professors at Dresden University, where Ray was visiting when he encountered the problem, told him that the problem was unsolvable. “I just asked myself, ‘Why not?’ I didn’t believe there couldn’t be a solution,” said Ray.
Ray has been interested in math since he was a child. His interest was encouraged by his father who taught the boy calculus at age 6. Ray is deciding between studying math or physics when he goes to college.