German Teen Solves 300-Year-Old Mathematical Riddle Posed By Sir Isaac Newton

Shouryya Ray and NewtonThere has have been one common attribute in all the scientists that ever emerged in the world, and that is undoubtedly-Mathematics. How wonderful it would have been if I could have been able to solve all my Math problems throughout my school days. I still remember that the lowest marks I ever got were in this subject most of the time. A Dilemma for those who are not good with the subject is that all science related subjects are somehow related to Math, this means that if you are not able to be friends with Math, then say goodbye to Physics, Chemistry, Function Analysis, etc. too.

Think about a School going Young boy solving the mathematical Riddle that was once posed by the greatest of all, Sir Isaac Newton without any help, the news might be shocking for many of my readers. Its India Again! Congratulations!

The Indian-born Shouryya Ray was only 12 when his family shifted to Germany when his father, who was an engineer, got a technical job in a German College. From the very beginning, being a math lover himself, his father poured all his knowledge in his son, and Shouryya proved out to be an obedient son, understanding the phenomena that were beyond expectations from a child of his age. According to the interview he gave lately, he was able to do all calculus at the age of six only. On the basis of his exceptional level of knowledge, this young mathematician was given promotions in school and he is now two years ahead of friends of his age, and will now appear for the final school leaving exams.

The Mathematician Shouryya Ray

Shouryya has become the first person who has solved the mathematical problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago. It’s this 16 years old boy, who worked with all his efforts and proposed a solution to a riddle, which was never answered by big scientists throughout these 300 years. He worked out in finding how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance. It was told to him while briefing on a school project that the Riddle is still unsolved and the problem has got no solution. Shouryya, using the ideology that every problem has a solution, started working on the project without asking or telling anyone about it. Giving his interview to Sunday Times, London, he said:

“When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, ‘well, there’s no harm in trying,”

The Family’s support and confidence in him worked as hidden power in him. Shouryya always admired his Father and following his examples and love for Mathematics, he achieved what seemed impossible. His Father, Mr. Subhashis, who is delighted by his son’s exceptional achievement, reported to have said in the interview:

“He never discussed his project with me before it was finished and the mathematics he used are far beyond my reach,”

Although Shouryya always faced difficulties in understanding German, which is not his Mother Tongue, it was again a result of endless and well directed efforts that the problem that was proposed by such a Genius, the Only Newton related to the movement of projectile through the air in the 17th century, was solved by a 16 years old Shouryya while all the other scientists failed to do so. Its important to quote here that since a long time many mathematicians were working on the problem but were never able to succeed completely, often proposing incomplete solutions.

projectile motion and shouryya

The cleverness of this mastermind did not come to an end here; In fact it is just a start. Shouryya Ray worked after the success of the first one, focusing on dealing with the collision of a body with a wall. It was posed in the 19th century, giving scientists, a new theoretical and experimental ideas for the problem they were finding solutions since a long time.

Ray’s efforts in finding the solution to both problems are related form the field of dynamics and the proposed solutions are expected to contribute in the upcoming experiments in the field.


At the moment, Mr. Ray has become the world’s youngest Genius, which is a matter of pride for Germany and especially India. For such an achievement, it was obvious that the young boy was to be awarded with a research award and has been given a title of Genius by the German Media. his Curiosity and experimental approach has brought him never ending fame, wealth and unrevealed treasures.

So you See, how a simple interest in a particular subject can change lives? We congratulate Mr. Shouryya and the entire Ray Family for the achievement.


12 thoughts on “German Teen Solves 300-Year-Old Mathematical Riddle Posed By Sir Isaac Newton”

  1. Hi, Where can one find the exact mathematical problem posed by Newton and the proof solved by Ray ? Thanks.

  2. An extracted Version from an article i was reading about:

    “According to, Newton posed the problem which relating to the movement of projectiles through the air, in the 17th century. Mathematicians had only been able to offer partial solutions until now.

    The movement of projectiles through the air is very complex problem. We need to address gravity, velocity, and the mass of the projectiles. Sound familiar with “sky-rocket science” term? It refers to the sophisticated, complex tasks. No wonder,to fly two astronauts into earth orbit, we need hundred of scientists working behind the desk, monitor control room and thousand of engineer develop the carrier rockets.

    Compare to the movement of bacteria, plankton in the water. Scientists are able to analyze the movement of such creatures using motion analysis software such Labtrack.”

  3. Wow! really cool….i guess he had this before he cracked the code;
    (99% hard work + 1% of inspiration)
    What a smart / intelligent lad with positive attitude =)

  4. Did he solve the problem with the projectile moving in a turbulent fluid? Or, was it solved in laminar motion and subsonic.

    Curious as to how much this will benefit those of us whowork with small arms ballistics.


  5. Kudos to the teacher that presented this ancient unsolved problem to his students which inspired this youth to take up the challenge. The news story however does misrepresent the result. No matter how many parameters were included, this would still be a theoretical and partial solution. As other responders eluded to, it is impossible to consider all the factors that would affect the projectile. Even though he could not have included the effects of variations of air composition, density, temperature and motion on even a near ideal day in a near ideal location, I would be interested in examining the complete results to see if he included a formula which defines and allows variations in the geometry of the projectile itself. Does the formula attempt to deal with projectiles with initial speeds that result in high temperatures at the projectile surface, changes in surface friction due to partial evaporation of the surface material into the surrounding gas and heating of the surrounding gas, which will change throughout the path. If so, does the formula restrict itself to a particular surface material of the projectile, or use an theoretical ideal material. Does it consider the expansion and contraction of the projectile throughout the path due to the temperature changes which will affect the resistance? Will this students particular theoretical and partial solution within the parameters he has chosen be of additional value over the previous solutions to predict real ballistics in various conditions?

  6. This is bs, I solved the same thing 4 years ago for a physics project.. The project was about calculating the exact path of a soccer ball under gravity and subject to air resistance. Which also took in account where and how hard the ball was hit (deformation of the scocer ball).

    It has never been a difficult problem either because all the parts where already available, you just had to connect the dots.

    This is overhyped and I’m pretty sure more people will step forward claiming they have solved it before aswel.

  7. It wouldn’t matter, if your native in america, you ain’t nothing no matter how smart you are or

    anything else.

Comments are closed.