# Secret Geniuses Who Shocked Their Teachers

October 13, 2022

•15 min read

Let's check out the story of the slacker who was 20 minutes late, whose two mathematical solutions shocked his professor and other accounts of secret geniuses!

It started off as a regular day for Doctor Jerzy Neyman, back in 1939. The Polish mathematician and statistician was teaching his first-year graduate level statistics class at the University of California in Berkley. Jerzy was a genius, establishing the statistical philosophies and practices that many scientific tests are still based on today.

He’d published books, devised methods, and was considered an expert in his field. Now he was a professor at one of the best University’s in the world. His class that morning was attentive, and eager to learn, and so he started the lesson. But 20 minutes later, the door burst open, and a student, a young man, rushed to his seat. Jerzy was annoyed, but continued with the lesson, discussing two equations for statistical theorems he’d written on the chalkboard. The young man scribbled in his notes furiously, and the class was dismissed soon after.*Good Will Hunting*.

## Yu Jianchun

Back in 2016, Professor Cai Tinxin of Zhejiang University in China received a strange letter, containing a brief explanation and a seemingly simple equation. The mathematics expert looked it over and was stunned by what he saw. It was an alternative method to verify Carmichael numbers.

## Shakuntala Devi

There’s an age-old stereotype that boys are better at maths than girls. And there’s no one better to prove that that’s bogus than the prodigy that was Shakuntala Devi.

## Grigori Perelman

Not everyone wants to be rewarded or even recognized for some of their incredible feats – no matter how deserving they may be. And one of those people is Grigori Perelman. Born in part of the Soviet Union now known as Russia back in 1966, it was apparent from a young age Grigori had an aptitude for maths.

At just 16 years old, he represented the Soviet Union in the 1982 International Mathematical Olympiad, like the Olympics but for "mathletes". Grigori swept the floor with his opponents, achieving a perfect score and winning a gold medal.## Ufot Ekong

It’s already pretty hard to try and find the words you need to explain a complex principle in your own language, isn’t it? So, trying to do it in a different language, like Japanese for instance, would make this 10 times harder.

## Shouryya Ray

Back in 2012, the 16-year-old Shouryya Ray reportedly solved a math question that had been posed by Sir Isaac Newton almost 350 years ago. The media went wild, hailing the boy a genius.

The Indian-born student was completing an internship at a German university when he came up with the working for a fundamental particle dynamics equation. Ray’s solutions meant an object’s flight path could now be calculated and predictions made about how the item would collide with and ricochet off a barrier.## John Forbes Nash Jr

One of my favorite films of all time is *A Beautiful Mind*, a 2001 drama based around the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash jr. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. But for all the unbelievable details the award-winning film brought to the silver screen, John’s real story was actually way more dramatic than it let on!

*A Beautiful Mind*, which was then adapted for the big screen. And while John was far from a perfect human being, he did prove that perseverance in the face of adversity makes the most amazing things possible.