What is the kind of concentration required for RMO INMO IMO and IITJEE Advanced Mathematics?

Laser like concentration is a pre-requisite to genuinely creative work in math, computer science, or any other field, like chess and music. Let me illustrate a story of John Nash Jr. (Nobel Laureate, Economics, Abel Laureate genius mathematician): (Reference: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, Chapter 5 Genius):

KAI LAI CHUNG, a mathematics instructor who had survived the horrors of the Japanese conquest of his native China, was surprised to see the door of the Professors’ Room standing ajar.  It was usually locked. Kai Lai liked to stop by on the rare occasions when it was open and nobody was about. It had the feel of an empty church, no longer imposing and intimidating as it was in the afternoons when it was crowded with mathematical luminaries, but simply a beautiful sanctuary.

The light in the west common room filtered through thick stained-glass windows inlaid with formulae: Newton’s law of gravity, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. At the far end, like an altar, was a massive stone fireplace. On one side was a carving of a fly confronting
the paradox of the MObius band. MObius had given a strip of paper a half twist and connected the ends, creating a seemingly impossible object: a surface with only one side. Kai Lai especially liked to read the whimsical inscription over the fire-place, Einstein’s expression of faith in science, “Der Herr Gott ist raffiniert aber Boshaft ist Er nicht,” which he took to mean that “the Lord is subtle but not malicious.”

On this particular fall morning, as he reached the threshold of the half-open door, Kai Lai stopped abruptly. A few feet away, on the massive table that dominated the room, floating among a sea of papers, sprawled a beautiful dark-haired young man. He lay on his back staring up at the ceiling as if he were outside on a lawn under an elm looking up at the sky through the leaves, perfectly relaxed, motionless, obviously lost in thought, arms folded behind his head. He was whistling softly. Kai Lai recognized the distinctive profile immediately. It was the new graduate student from West Virginia. A trifle shocked and a little embarrassed,
Kai Lai backed away from the door and hurried away before Nash could see or hear him.


Nalin Pithwa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.