May 28, 2009

Teen figures out 300-year-old math problem

A 16-year-old in Sweden says when he first presented his solution to a 300-year-old mathematics formula, he was met with skepticism from his teachers.

Mohamed Altoumaimi, an Iraqi immigrant to Sweden, said undeterred, he presented the formula explaining the calculation of Bernoulli numbers to professors at Sweden's Uppsala University, The Local said Thursday.

When I first presented it to my teachers, none of them believed that the formula I had written down really worked, Altoumaimi said.

Right away they wanted to take a look at all my calculations and the documents where I show that the formula really works, the teen added regarding Uppsala professors' interest in his work.

Uppsala professors ultimately verified Altoumaimi's solution to the mathematics problem, which has served as a significant mathematical challenge for 300 years.

The Local said while the Bernoulli numbers formula had previously been solved, Altoumaimi's work was praised as a result of his young age and educational level.

It's really exciting, now all the teachers have come and congratulated me, the teen said of the response to his formula.

Bernoulli numbers are sequenced rational numbers connected to number theory.