Yu Jianchun, a 33-year-old worker at a logistic company’s packaging shop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has discovered a solution to a tricky math problem.
Yu has spent the last 8 years tediously working on his proof. The solution involves Carmichael numbers, a set of odd numbers also known as “pseudoprimes.” These numbers appear at first as prime numbers, which hinder the ability to detect true primes from pseudoprimes. Yu has created a new solution to detect a pseudoprime. Yu’s inventive solution already appears to make the task of singling out these Carmichael numbers an easier feat, however the proof must be independently verified before being acknowledged.
After reaching out to several university professors, Yu was finally invited to give a demonstration of his findings at the Zhejiang University by professor Cai Tianxin, reports China Daily.
The professor was impressed by Yu’s hard-work and determination. Yu has no college degree, which truly makes his efforts inspiring. “He has never received any systematic training in number theory nor taken advanced math classes,” Zhejiang University mathematics professor Cai Tianxin told CNN. “All he has is an instinct and an extreme sensitivity to numbers.”
A company based in Huzhou has offered Yu a job specializing in statistics. The company — Silk Road Holding Group — plans to house Yu, free of charge, in a dormitory. Yu will no longer have to work long hours to pay for rent, thus will have ample time to devote himself to his mathematical research.
Because of his impressive findings and background, Yu has gained international attention from the media. He has been referred to as the Chinese “Will Hunting,” the genius protagonist from the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting.” Like Yu, Hunting was a blue-collar man who worked as a janitor at the local university, only to discover he had an talent for numbers. Yu has never heard of the movie.
Everyone seems to be singing Yu’s praises except for Yu himself. He calls himself “slow-witted” and says “I need to spend far more time studying math problems than others. Although I am sensitive to numbers, I barely have any knowledge about calculus or geometry,” CNN reports.
By Robin Winship
[Image via China Daily]