Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dirichlet, home-schooling, and Wikipedia

The results for the Siemens Westinghouse Math, Science, and Technology competition for highschoolers are out -- Michael Viscardi, a home-schooled teenager from San Diego is the winner for his work on the Dirichlet problem. It's nice to see a teenager able to produce new mathematical work; I always find it disappointing that similar competitions, eg., the Intel contest, always produce lots of entries/winners in the "natural sciences" and rarely in mathematics. This years finalists also included an entry in "computer science", specifically related to the area of search -- cool.

On the other hand, since home-schooled children often enjoy a curriculum tailored to their individual pace of learning, should we consider Michael's "school age" closer to 20?

Incidentally, when I probed the Internet to read about what Dirichlet problems are, I was astounded to see an entry in the Wikipedia that already includes a mention of Viscardi's work. The power of the web...


Anonymous said...

I first learnt about Hans Bethe's death through Wikipedia. I happened to be hit that page and saw thathe had died. Suprised I checked the date - it was that very same day! I read about it in the news only later. power or WikiWikiWiki

Anonymous said...

Michael wasn't just homeschooled; he took math classes at UCSD for a few years (most parents probably wouldn't be able to help with the math he was studying :)