It was ten o’clock in the morning at the mathematics department of the research building.
Professor Tang sat at his desk and looked at his computer screen. He was editing a thesis meticulously.
He read through the argument and the logical process of the calculation. He could not help but felt a sense of astonishment. Even though he carried a pair of criticizing eyes and wanted to find mistakes to ask Lu Zhou to fix, he felt like he did not even know where to begin.
He finished inspecting the thesis and did not find a single unnecessary calculation.
The only thing he could help was to edit and fix the sentence structure and English vocabulary.
“The young ones are going to soon surpass us,” said Professor Tang Zhiwei as he leaned against his chair.
At the exact moment, his office door was pushed open.
The person did not knock or greet him. It was this type of impolite behaviors that made Professor Tang frowned. However, after seeing who it was, he relaxed and his face had a slight smile.
It was Lu Fangping, the head of the University of Jin Ling’s mathematics department. Not only was he Tang Zhiwei’s coworker, but he was also his friend.
“Old tang, is your phone broken? I called and no one picked up,” said Lu Fangping as he walked in with a smile.
“Ah, I have to turn my phone off every year after exams. You know this,” replied Tang Zhiwei while he looked at Professor Lu Fangping. He leaned against his chair, picked up his cup of warm tea and asked, “Aren’t you busy these days? What are you doing here?”
Lu Fangping sat down in the office sofa and said, “Well I need your help. That’s why I came!”
“What a thick skin! Everyone else brought me liquor when they needed my help, and you didn’t even bring a cigarette. I’m not helping you!” said Tang Zhiwei jokingly.
“Didn’t you hate that kind of stuff? If I brought something, I wouldn’t even be let in the door,” said Lu Fangping while laughing.
Tang Zhiwei smiled, “Okay, let’s end the jokes here. Stop beating around the bush and just tell me what you need my help with.”
Lu Fangping slapped his thigh and said, “Ah, we have this national mathematical modeling competition coming up in September. The department wants me to arrange a couple of teams and team up with the computer science department. I want to try and get a couple of national gold medals, and earn some honor for our department and school!”
It was also to boost his annual teaching and research assessment.
If they screwed up, and the entire mathematics department did not even win one gold medal, how embarrassing would the meet be?
Of course, Dean Lu knew not to mention it.
“You want… You want me to be an advisor coach?” said Tang Zhiwei. He frowned, “But I do research on pure mathematics. I’m afraid I can’t help you with this mathematical modeling stuff.”
Mathematical modeling and mathematics research sounds similar but actually, they were in completely different fields. Whether it was innovative thinking ability or absorbing new information, it was difficult for Professor Tang to keep up with the young people’s brains. There was no hope for him to coach them.
“No, I’ve already finished arranging the teachers’ team. I just wanted to borrow two people from your subjects. Is there anyone that is very talented and quick with mathematics?”
“Ah, that’s it? Okay, this is the perfect timing. I have someone to recommend to you. Mathematics class 1, Lu Zhou. Go and take him. Don’t need to thank me. ” said Tang Zhiwei while smiling.
“Lu Zhou?” Lu Fangping frowned, “I think I’ve seen his name before…”
Suddenly, he remembered. He encountered the name while he was invigilating the mathematics exam yesterday. The student that finished in half an hour and got all the answers right.
He’s only in the first year!
The national mathematical modeling competition dissimilar to the traditional Olympic maths, where they just gave you a test paper. It was to test the students not for their grasp of theory, but their ability to apply theory into real-life situations.
Also, based on the results of the past competitions, the students that got high grades would not necessarily excel in the competition. It was the students that did well in all subjects, that performed well in the competition.
Also, the competition had a wide range of possible questions. A first-year student’s knowledge base was limited and difficult to utilize in the competition.
Of course, there was no harm in applying. The important part was participation. However, Lu Fangping did not want those “participation” students. He wanted competitive students.
As for Lu Zhou, even though his mathematical ability was good, but his knowledge base was too narrow!
“You think that he’s too young?” Tang Zhiwei instantly knew what his old friend was thinking about, so he laughed.
“You’re right,” Lu Fangping nodded. He then said, “The computer science department valued this competition. They contributed a second-year computer genius, who won two national computer competitions during high school, and won a national software competition when he was a first-year student. I actually already have a few people in mind, but wanted to ask for your opinion. I think I’ll need minimum a second-year student… You catch my drift?”
Lu Fangping conveyed his intentions clearly.
Even though in principle, the school should encourage students to set up their own teams, the school would not mind if the head of departments chose to organize a super team. After all, receiving more medals would be an achievement for the heads and it would bring honor to the school.
The computer science department had such a genius. Even though he said he did care that much, he still could not send a liability. If the time arrived and their “super team” did not even make it into the competition door, how embarrassing would that be!
Tang Zhiwei laughed. He looked at the computer on his desk and said, “I have a thesis right here. Come and look at it.”
Lu Fangping was stunned. He did not know what his colleague was doing. However, he still walked over, carrying with him a hint of suspicion.
“Optimal Inversion Theory of Linear Operators and Linear Functionals… When did the direction of your research become this?” asked Lu Fangping excitingly as he read the title of the thesis.
Tang Zhiwei did not answer. Instead, he just urged him and said, “Stop asking questions. Read the thesis and tell me what you think.”
Lu Fangping was full of questions but he continued to read the thesis. The more he read, the more he intrigued he was.
After reading the last process of the argument, he stood there and thought for a bit. He then jealously said, “Old tang, to be honest… I envy you.”
“I asked you to critique this essay, why are you envious?” laughed Tang Zhiwei.
“Our maths department has so much talent, how come you have a monopoly on this one? Not only do you have a genius undergraduate student, but even your graduate students are also so smart.” The more Lu Fangping thought about it, the less content he was. How come he could not coach a student at this level?
Hearing this, Tang Zhiwei laughed out loud. This made Lu Fangping very confused as he had no idea what his old friend was laughing about!
“Graduate student? Hahaha! This thesis was written by Lu Zhou! Guess what happened yesterday? I asked him where he was going to submit this essay, and he dared to say AMC! Thank god I stopped him. If he had gone through with the PhD, he would have regretted it,” laughed Tang Zhiwei.
Lu Fangping was thoroughly confused. He looked at the thesis on the computer and then looked back at his old friend. He paused for a long time before asking with an uncertain tone, “Old Tang, why are you pranking me like this?”
“I wasn’t pranking you,” said Tang Zhiwei. He stopped smiling and looked at his old friend before saying with a serious tone, “This thesis and argument process was entirely done by himself. I explained a few difficult parts to him. The questions that he asked me, confirmed that this is his own work. The only part that I edited was the sentence structure in the thesis. As for the core part of the thesis, and the final arguments, I couldn’t find a single mistake in them. Even though the kid’s personality is a bit practical and he’s pretty impatient, he actually has immense talent. If you want my recommendation for a person to enter your “super team”, I would wholeheartedly recommend him. Whether it’s thesis writing ability or maths ability, there’s no undergraduate student in University of Jin Ling that can beat him!”
He’s better than everyone else!
Do you know how many undergraduate students there are in the University of Jin Ling? A dean like me doesn’t even know!
However, Lu Fangping was unable to refute.
Especially after reading his thesis, his doubts about Lu Zhou’s ability immediately vanished.
If Tang Zhiwei did not tell him, he would have thought this thesis was written by a PhD student.
This student had reached an impossible level in the field of functional analysis.
Lu Fangping said quietly, “I… Don’t have much to say, it’s up to you to convince him to join.”
“Don’t you worry about it. The kid listens to me. Don’t leave just yet, I’ll call him and explain the situation to him,” said Tang Zhiwei confidently. He picked up the telephone on his desk.
Representing the department’s “super team” in a national competition was a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you win, the dean would know your name and a four-year scholarship would definitely be yours.
Tang Zhiwei did not want to give empty promises. He decided to do it now. Therefore, he called Lu Zhou in front of the dean.
“The number you dialed is not in service, please call again later…”
Is his phone off?
Tang Zhiwei paused. He frowned and hung up the call.
“What is this kid doing? He doesn’t even pick up the phone. I’ll talk to him later.”
Lu Fangping was not worried. He definitely wanted the kid!
His knowledge base would not even matter. He had earned the right to this competition from this thesis alone. The three-man team for this competition would have one person for coding, one for mathematical modeling, and one for writing the thesis. The kid alone could do modeling and thesis writing. This competition was in the bag!
He was also confident that Lu Zhou would accept, so he was not worried at all.
No student would reject this type of valuable opportunity.
Lu Fangping laughed and said, “Okay, thanks for the help. I still have some stuff to do, I won’t bother you any longer.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll respond to you tomorrow,” said Tang Zhiwei as he waved his hand.