Contemporary Faces in Maths

With World Maths Day here, everything to do with numbers, shapes and equations will be the focus of schools worldwide. However, teachers may not be aware of these contemporary faces whose achievements are monumental! Imagine the kinds of questions they ask! SATs Companion wants to shed light on these minds for World Maths Day and give teachers something unique for Maths-based activities this year. If they are not changing the world already, they will go on to change the world!

1) Yusuf Shah – 10 Years Old

There is no uncertainty that this young man solved those six Rubik’s cubes; it is not a photo opportunity! With an IQ of 162, a genius level for those unaware, and significantly better than Stephen Hawking, he has shocked more than just Mensa. Even at nursery school, Yusuf learned the alphabet quicker than his peers. Also, in Year 3, he discovered a mathematical phenomenon called ‘Yusuf’s Square Rule.’ It is a simple trick to help you quickly find the square of any number that ends in 5. Take the first digit of the number and multiply it by the next higher one. Then, put 25 at the end of the sum.

For example, if you want to find the square of 35, take 3, and multiply it by the next higher digit (4), which gives you 12. Then, you put 25 at the end of 12 to get 1225, which is 35 squared. So, Yusuf’s Square Rule can make it easy to find the square of any number that ends in 5.

Although Yusuf has not decided on a University place yet, his passion for Maths is incalculable!

2) Kautilya Katariya – 9 Years Old

After he earned the title of ‘world’s youngest coder’ on earth at six years old according to 2019 Guinness World Records and became an IBM Certified Artificial Intelligence Professional at only eight years old in 2022, Northampton native Kautiya achieved the highest GCSE grade in Maths, a 9 (A*), in the same year. At this minute, he is sitting A Level Maths alongside Sixth Formers across Britain. He has also completed University coding courses online at MIT and Stanford University. He dreams of one day building an AI program that can quite literally ‘do anything. ‘If you were sick it could be a doctor, if you want to talk it could be a friend, if you needed a ride it could become or build a robot car or rocket ship for you’ Kautilya said on his LinkedIn Page.

3) Faith Odunsi – 15 years old

Faith Odunsi was a 15-year-old Nigerian Student who won the Global Open Mathematics competition in 2021, beating out students from China, the UK, and the US. Odunsi excelled in all rounds of the competition and didn’t see herself being the winner! She managed to cement herself in history by solving 19 mathematics questions in 60 seconds; this ensured she was the best candidate that year! She says she inherited her Mathematics skills from her father, but she is a hard worker and skilled Mathematician who can solve more Math’s problems in small time frames than most of the world!

4) Lisa Piccirillo – 32 years old

Lisa Piccirillo is a trailblazer in Mathematics; she solved a decade-old Maths problem, the Conway Knot, as a University of Texas PhD graduate student at 27 in 2018, something that has confused Mathematicians for decades.

Once Lisa heard about the Conway knot problem at a Maths conference, she sat at her desk the next night and began looking for a way to solve it. She met up with Cameron Gordon a few days later, her professor at UT, and brought up a solution to the Conway Knot Problem. He could not believe a solution was unraveling; he went to his contacts who published the Annals of Mathematics (a Mathematics journal published by Princeton University every two months) to add her discovery. She is now an assistant professor of Mathematics at MIT.  If you wish to know more about the Conway Knot Problem, click here! 

5) Rachel Riley – 37 year old

Rachel Riley is an Oxford Graduate in Mathematics and has been a star in daytime television’s Countdown since 2009. Her ability to figure out sums on a whim is unmatched! Shockingly, she did not believe she would get into Cambridge, having found the entry questions harder than her male counterparts who bragged extensively upon leaving the exam hall. She has been intent on closing the gender gap that suggests that girls are bad at Maths and should not pursue a career in STEM subjects from a young age: ‘There are many different ways to help realign mindset, but the best is seeing women in these STEM roles. They aren’t some weirdo in a white jacket and you don’t have to be Einstein!’ says Rachel. There is no doubt that Rachel Riley is a role model for girls who study Maths everywhere!

Change a child’s life this World Maths Day, if you are looking for a tried and tested Maths tool to help build your pupils’ confidence, SATs Companion is here to help. Click here for more. Who knows? Your pupil could be on a future Contemporary faces in Maths blog!