Puzzled by maths whizz

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Pupils who join a new school when they move to a foreign country might have difficulties when following instructions in a new language.

However, Mohamed Altoumaimi, 16, from Iraq managed the reverse in Sweden when - rather than struggling to grasp what his teacher was saying - he found a formula to explain the Bernoulli sequence of rational numbers after just a few months' study in his new school.

Unfortunately, the school did not believe him and he had to persuade teachers that it was the right formula. Luckily he later managed to get the support from one of the big universities in Sweden, which reportedly said it would offer him a place.

Thinking that he could relax and enjoy his achievement, a new problem arose when Uppsala University reversed its decision. "He has solved the problem, however, his conclusions are well known and readily available," senior lecturer Lars-Ake Lindahl told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Despite this, he was impressed and said it was obvious that Mr Altoumaimi had solved the puzzle on his own.

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