### Post by Priem19 on Jun 23, 2019 6:35:02 GMT

sciencerecruit.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/the-next-gauss/

Last Thursday at the school I am a warden at I got into a conversation with a somewhat unruly kid. He was being his usual provocative and loudmouth self, but nothing I can’t handle—full blown puberty. At some point he dropped the line: “I’m good at everything.” Challenge accepted.

“Really?” I said, “If you’re good at everything then you must be able to figure out what 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100 amounts to.” He stopped in his tracks and turned his head, looking intrigued. He tried to laugh it off at first but quickly diverted his attention to the problem;

Last Thursday at the school I am a warden at I got into a conversation with a somewhat unruly kid. He was being his usual provocative and loudmouth self, but nothing I can’t handle—full blown puberty. At some point he dropped the line: “I’m good at everything.” Challenge accepted.

“Really?” I said, “If you’re good at everything then you must be able to figure out what 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100 amounts to.” He stopped in his tracks and turned his head, looking intrigued. He tried to laugh it off at first but quickly diverted his attention to the problem;

*Obviously I thought he wouldn’t be able to solve it. For three times, as I passed him by with a five minute interval, I asked him: “Aaah, master of everything, have you solved it yet?” He took some guesses but alas. Now comes the interesting part. The last time, he was surrounded by a group of friends, “Ask that guy,” he said, “he’s really smart!”*

So I did. “What is 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100?” The surrounding kids replied with guesses as expected, however, that guy suddenly said 550. “Incorrect.” But I was curious as to how he got those numbers. Thirty seconds later: “5000?” I thought “Holy crap this kid is going to solve it”, but I responded: “No, and no more guesses. Come to me only if you’ve got the answer and can tell me why.”

Five minutes later I see him running up to me: “5050!” Equally amazed and surprised I told him “That’s right. Congratulations!” He explained how he got the answer and went out to play again. Before he ran off I asked for his name, and didn’t forget it since. I didn’t know what to think of it. This guy solved the somewhat famous addition problem associated with Carl Friedrich Gauss, without pen and paper within give or take 15 minutes. Not too long after, I heard he already skipped a year and that even in kindergarten his giftedness was apparent. For a second I thought I was going to be jealous. Maybe I was, but only for a little while, and definitely without envy. The experience quickly turned into amazement and a sense of gratitude for that I have met this possible Gauss 2.0.

I also realized I need to find more of these kinds of problems to throw at these kids. Not only the gifted kids, but all of ’em. Gifted or not, they were all standing together trying to solve this problem in excitement. I found it particularly awesome that the unruly kid suddenly wasn’t so unruly anymore, and that they all found math fun when it’s presented as a challenge.

Hold on, the story isn’t done yet. When the bell rang and the children who eat at home come onto the playground, the unruly kid ran up to one of them and his mom, yelling: “Hey! What’s 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100?! It’s a problem associated with one of the most badass mathematicians to ever exist! He solved it when he was 10. Guy already solved it too!” I went home, curious to find out if that other well known smart kid would be able to solve it as well. Next day I found out that he did, in a completely different way, and that I have a lot of catching up to do.

The following movie excerpt portrays the moment when Gauss solved it. If you haven’t already done so, try to find the formula to solve this addition problem for any number, e.g. 1+2+3+…+200. The answer is in both the clips below. Enjoy!

So I did. “What is 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100?” The surrounding kids replied with guesses as expected, however, that guy suddenly said 550. “Incorrect.” But I was curious as to how he got those numbers. Thirty seconds later: “5000?” I thought “Holy crap this kid is going to solve it”, but I responded: “No, and no more guesses. Come to me only if you’ve got the answer and can tell me why.”

Five minutes later I see him running up to me: “5050!” Equally amazed and surprised I told him “That’s right. Congratulations!” He explained how he got the answer and went out to play again. Before he ran off I asked for his name, and didn’t forget it since. I didn’t know what to think of it. This guy solved the somewhat famous addition problem associated with Carl Friedrich Gauss, without pen and paper within give or take 15 minutes. Not too long after, I heard he already skipped a year and that even in kindergarten his giftedness was apparent. For a second I thought I was going to be jealous. Maybe I was, but only for a little while, and definitely without envy. The experience quickly turned into amazement and a sense of gratitude for that I have met this possible Gauss 2.0.

I also realized I need to find more of these kinds of problems to throw at these kids. Not only the gifted kids, but all of ’em. Gifted or not, they were all standing together trying to solve this problem in excitement. I found it particularly awesome that the unruly kid suddenly wasn’t so unruly anymore, and that they all found math fun when it’s presented as a challenge.

Hold on, the story isn’t done yet. When the bell rang and the children who eat at home come onto the playground, the unruly kid ran up to one of them and his mom, yelling: “Hey! What’s 1+2+3+4+5+6+…+100?! It’s a problem associated with one of the most badass mathematicians to ever exist! He solved it when he was 10. Guy already solved it too!” I went home, curious to find out if that other well known smart kid would be able to solve it as well. Next day I found out that he did, in a completely different way, and that I have a lot of catching up to do.

The following movie excerpt portrays the moment when Gauss solved it. If you haven’t already done so, try to find the formula to solve this addition problem for any number, e.g. 1+2+3+…+200. The answer is in both the clips below. Enjoy!