Written by Bill Licks

Monday, 23 August 2010

i don't want to study quantum mechanics tonight - I want to watch Teletubies

A 2 year old boy has become the youngest person ever to attain an A* grade at Maths A-Level.

Abdullah Khan from Oxford has only been studying maths for 3 months but his parents believe he has a natural talent with figures.

'It all started when he was lying in his cot staring at a calculator I had hung above his head' said his father Mohammed, a professor of Mathematics at Oxford University. 'He was fascinated by the calculator's ability to compute hyperbolic trigonometry and solve exponential functions and I could see he was competing with the machines processing speeds to work out the answer to complex equations before they were displayed on the screen.'

'I immediately realized my son took after me with his brilliant mathematical mind so I set him the challenge to pass an A-Level Maths exam before he was 3 years old.'

'To help him I would swap his In the Night Garden dvd's with episodes of the Open University from the 1970's when some long haired professor in a bad suit would lecture for 3 hours about Fermat's Last Theorem. And instead of reading him a bedtime story, I would ask my wife to recite PI to 5,000 decimal places.'

The A-Level paper Abdullah completed was slightly different to the one sat by 18 year olds across the country but his father has dismissed allegations that his son's paper was far easier.

'Of course people would say that about my son's achievements. It is obvious that there are a lot of jealous people who can not accept that their children aren't as academically brilliant as mine.'

So is your 2 year old as bright as Abdullah? Try letting your toddler answer the following questions similar to the ones Abdullah would have answered and see how they get on.

1)The cubic equation x3+ ax - b = 0 has roots a, b, g. Given that g = ab ,express each of a and b in terms of g only, and hence show that ( a + b)2 = b by drawing random shapes and lines all over your answer sheet with different colour crayons.

2)A cylindrical container has a height of 200 cm. The container was initially full of a chemical but there is a leak from a hole in the base. When the leak is noticed, the container is half-full and the level of the chemical is dropping at a rate of 1 cm per minute. It is required to find for how many minutes the container has been leaking. To model the situation it is assumed that, when the depth of the chemical remaining is x cm, the rate at which the level is dropping is proportional to x .

Set up and solve an appropriate differential equation, and hence show that the container has been leaking for about 80 minutes by putting the answer sheet in your mouth, drooling all over it and then shitting yourself.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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