A Chinese genius flexed his mathematical prowess by solving a problem that flummoxed a team of mathematicians with Ph.D.s for four months in a single night.
Wei Dongyi, a 30-year-old assistant mathematics professor at Peking University in Beijing, came to the rescue after six mathematicians called him for help as they tried building a complex mathematics model. After using the equations he provided to alter their experiment, the team’s model obtained a passing rate of over 96%.
The mathematicians wanted to pay the professor to show their gratitude, but he declined.
“It’s unnecessary to pay me for such an easy problem,” he said.
Wei, who became known as “God Wei,” eventually asked for a recharge of his transport card as a form of compensation.
“It is not rare or surprising to us that Wei can solve the puzzle that other people cannot because he is smart and is hyper-focused on math problems,” Chen Dayue, the dean of Peking University’s School of Mathematical Sciences, told Chinese news platform Jiupai News.
Wei was reportedly accepted to Peking University without taking the gaokao, China’s national college entrance exam, due to his math skills and past achievements, including his two consecutive victories at the International Mathematical Olympiad while he was still a high school student.
He also turned down an offer from Harvard, which went so far as to offer an English language waiver and an interpreter so that he could study there as a Ph.D. candidate, his former teacher Zhang Yonghua told Shandong Business News.
Wei’s Peking University faculty profile states that he received his B.S. in Mathematics at the university in 2014 and earned his Ph.D. in the same field four years later.
The professor found himself in the spotlight last year after an awkward interview clip of him went viral. He was mistaken for a student due to his disheveled appearance, simple clothes and giant plastic water bottle.
“He is a disciplined person. We often saw him eat steamed buns accompanied with tofu in the canteen,” one of Wei’s former classmates told City Express. “He studied well and he won scholarships of over 100,000 yuan (US$15,655) a year. But he still lives a plain life, being rustic in both clothing and food.”