Genius Fundamentals - Chapter 23
Chapter 23: Infinite (2)
Xu An was surprised. It wasn’t because Lin Zhao Xi said she had calculated it, but because of her composure.
Lin Zhaoxi had a difficult personality, likely because she was an orphan. She was prideful and stubborn, her self-esteem reached the skies. The slightest little thing would make Lin Zhaoxi stir up trouble, it was how her son and Lin Zhaoxi’s conflict came about. Even as a teacher, she couldn’t say too much to her for fear that the words would hurt her self-esteem would topple to the ground.
If she had asked before, Lin Zhaoxi would probably have been crying. But now, the same girl was standing in front of the table, half bathed in sunlight, slanting her tiny face. She didn’t think there was anything wrong with the question-and-answer session.
Very calm, and confident.
Of course, Lin Zhao Xi didn’t know what was in Xu An’s mind. But even if Mrs. Xu voiced her misgivings, she could only say that she really thought it was okay to just write the answers.
“Did you calculate it in your head?” Mrs. Xu asked.
It really seemed she could do mental math.
Lin Zhao Xi nodded.
“You didn’t write it out?”
Still skeptical, Mrs. Xu asked, “Tell me your thoughts on the last question.”
The last question was about boats. Boat A and B went in opposite directions, and behind B there was another boat, C, which ran into A and then turned back. It asked for the distance traveled by C.
Lin Zhaoxi read that question, and she was bombarded by so many thoughts that she was unable to speak. She recalled that, a long time ago, she seemed to have lived this moment.
The same question and the same Olympiad class. A student was called up by the teacher to solve a question, but he just gave them the answer. When the teacher asked him to show them how he solved it, the student very calmly explained. However, the entire class, including the teacher, was shocked speechless.
The only difference between then, and now…
It had happened in the next-door experimental school’s Math Olympiad class, and it wasn’t her that the teacher called to explain why she had only written the answer, it was Pei Zhi.
How did Pei Zhi explain?
— “I summed the infinite series and the process was long, so I didn’t write it down.”
It was only later when Lin Zhao Xi asked Old Lin what he meant that she understood what he said. What he meant was, he calculated the distance C traveled each time it turned back and added it up. Old Lin had consoled her, “John von Neumann, a guy that dabbles with computers, did the same. It’s a stupid way to solve it, Pei Zhi’s no big deal.”
Afterward, Lin Zhaoxi investigated who John von Neumann was. Seeing that John von Neumann, who “dabbled with computers”, not only had a hand in inventing computers, but also had a hand in atomic bombs, was the founder of game theory, made important contributions to the development of quantum mechanics, and so on, she realized Old Lin took her for an uneducated fool.
From that moment on, she came to understand what it meant to be a genius. And now, she was only able to write the question’s answer directly, because that day, that question, and Pei Zhi’s answer, was deeply ingrained in her memory.
Lin Zhao Xi took a deep breath, intending to truthfully answer that she had once seen the question before, but she heard the teacher say, “You didn’t think of anything, just added everything up?”
Huh? Not at all.
“Sit down.” The teacher took her paper, “You did get 100% on this paper, very impressive.”
Lin Zhao Xi opened her eyes wide. She was actually praised?
Mrs. Xu left her praise and earnestly instructed, “Although you are very smart, Miss Lin Zhaoxi, I hope that you will try to solve the problem in the way I taught you. The Olympiad itself is a kind of thought training…”
Inside, Lin Zhao Xi was covered in cold sweat.
“Even if she did mental math, how can you assume she’s right without the written process? Teacher, you’re so biased!” Just then, Zeng Shanshan, who had been very dissatisfied, said.
Lin Zhao Xi didn’t know what was wrong. The person she had been in the past probably wouldn’t refute her words. But at that instant, she remembered Pei Zhi and suddenly turned back and asked, “How many questions does the Cup have in total, and what are the types of questions?”
Zeng Shanshan stilled.
“If you’re not sure, I’ll tell you. There are a total of 10 questions in the exam, 4 fill-in-the-blanks, and 6 multiple choice questions, no computational questions. In other words, the Cup itself doesn’t require you to write the solution. Do you know why?”
Of course, Zeng Shanshan couldn’t say anything. After a pause, Lin Zhao Xi continued, “It’s because there are too many ways to solve primary school Olympiad questions. There is no unified standard, you can reach the answer whether you use tricks or long formulas. As Mrs. Xu said just now, the Mathematical Olympiad is a thought training, so it is questionable to limit the students’ thoughts and ideas by using a unified standard. Therefore, the elementary school students only need to fill in the answers. I only wrote the answer, but what’s wrong with that?”
Hearing the righteous justification, that relied on years of experience, said in a child-like voice, Lin Zhao Xi thought that she herself had no sense of shame.
The whole class was silent, everyone was looking at her, speechless. At that moment, Lin Zhao Xi experienced what Pei Zhi had encountered.
“Lin Zhaoxi!” Finally, a voice berated her.
She looked at the teacher who had spoken, nodded, and sat down.
Zeng Shanshan angrily changed the X to a √, and the matter came to an end.
As Lin Zhao Xi sat back in her seat, she wondered whether or not she should go stake out the experimental school to take a look at Pei Zhi, she really didn’t feel at ease.