The inaugural winner of Steven H Strogatz Award for Math Communication conducted by the National Museum of Mathematics in New York, the teenage boy, Rohan Jha
His keen interested in maths was initially lighted by his architect mother’s advice to shoot a brief video. It happened during the summer vacation of his school, Pathways School in Gurugram when he recorded a video Birch Swinnerton Dyer (BSD) Conjecture, a complicated millennium problem in Math, that altered his life’s direction.
His father Pankaj Jha, a startup holder in India who had functioned at Wall Street for more than 20 years, sent the video to prestigious mathematicians, aspiring, one of them might acknowledge with encouragement.
Michael Harris, the lecturer at Columbia University, replied back saying that he would be glad to have Rohan as a student when the opportunity appears, while Benedict Gross, professor at Harvey the diversity, sent him his lecture notes to enhance his flair for the subject.
It gave Rohan, now a XIth grader at the Livingston High School in New Jersey, the enthusiasm to start glancing the influence of Math in everyday life. He was mesmerized that it was the reason behind some of the music we play or how nature uses it for its own optimal advantage.
In ancient India, for instance, the ballad was not just an art form but originated from complicated mathematical concepts that had to uphold the test of Sanskrit shlokas. There is an amalgamation of two beats, short and long. Even, tabla musicians use aa related idea where they call a fast syllable as ‘Dhin’ and a long syllable as ‘Dha’,” says Rohan who was encouraged by his late maternal grandfather, a Sanskrit scholar, to see the connection between music and Math.
Poets had to infer how many beats per shloka they need and the mixtures of short beat and long beat they can use. Mathematics gives answers to these questions. In nature too, many of the flowers have petals which also follow a mathematical structure, Rohan adds.
His fondness for the subject grew with a Math club that he started at Pathways School were a quarterly magazine ‘Math Musing’ was also part of the drive.
It was this journal that became his access to Steven H Strogatz Prize for Math Communication administered by the National Museum of Mathematics in New York where his project was determined as a victor in the writing field.
Ask him about Math fear and whether he was ever its patient, Rohan recalls that when I initially moved to India at the age of seven from the US, I was way not a bright student. They were understanding division, and I had just grasped subtraction. While trying to catch up, I fell in love with the subject.
Currently, Rohan is in the US where barely a month after beginning school in New Jersey, students were put into lockdown due to COVID-19. “However, once school reopens, I will think about becoming more effective in my career of Mathematics,” says the soccer fanatic and fitness enthusiast.
What makes his academic trip in the US meaningful is its priority on “independent thinking”, an explanation of why he can give a free strap to his intuition and make a seamless growth to college with proposals to major in Math or a related course