Liu Lu (刘路), a senior student at the School of Mathematics and Computing of Central South University (CSU) in Hunan Province, has won international fame by publishing a paper that solves an especially difficult problem relating to reverse mathematics. Liu's paper sets out the solution to Ramsey's Theorem, a conjecture which was put forward by British mathematical logician David Seetapun in the 1990s and which puzzled many of the world's leading mathematicians.
Born in 1990 in Dalian, Liaoning Province, Liu graduated from Yuming High School in Dalian and enrolled at CSU in 2008. Liu is not convinced that his genius for mathematics and logic is inherited, either from his father, who works in railway logistics, or from his mother, who is an engineer. However, he believes that his particular passion for math played a key role in his development. Liu feels that his particular passion for math also played a key role in his development. He said: "If there was any difference between me and my contemporaries [at school], it was my special attention to mathematics. While some students were still perplexed by the exercises in the school textbooks, I began to teach myself number theory."
Liu first found out about Seetapun's conjecture in August 2010. Finally, that October, after reading many papers on the subject, he was suddenly struck by the thought that could solve the problem. He finished writing his paper in a single night and subsequently sent it to the Journal of Symbolic Logic, an internationally renowned academic journal on mathematical logic. Liu sent the paper under his penname, Liu Jiayi. It wasn't long before he received a reply. The journal contacted him, expressing surprise that such a young student had written such a paper. On September 16, 2011, Liu was invited to deliver a 40-minute-long academic report to the Mathematical Logic Conference at the University of Chicago. He was the only Asian student to be invited to the conference.
In October 2011, CSU approved Liu's plans for successive postgraduate and doctoral programs of study and made special plans to help him make greater contributions to the field of science.
On March 20, 2012, Liu was hired by CSU as a professor-level researcher, making him China's youngest-ever professor, to date. Meanwhile, Liu received a special award of 1 million yuan from the university, half for his research work on the paper, and half as a contribution towards his living expenses.
Liu Lu has become an official researcher at his university, which will give him benefits that an official professor would receive, including research grants and other benefits, CNTV reported on Oct. 9, 2012.