Hua Luogeng’s 101th Birthday

If you’re a mathematician, then you’ll love the Google Doodle for the 12th day of November because it’s Hua Luogeng’s 101th birthday. This famed Chinese scholar was born in 1910 in China’s Jiangsu Province. He died of a heart attack on June 12, 1985 after finishing an hour-long lecture at the University of Tokyo. During his lifetime, he accomplished so much in the fields of mathematics and education.

Needless to say, Hua Luogeng has been one of the most gifted mathematicians in 21st century Japan. He authored many pioneering works in mathematics. His book on additive prime number theory subsequently spawned many Chinese number theorists, including Chen Jingrun who had been most successful in solving the binary Goldbach’s Conjecture.

Inside the Google Doodle, a colorful caricature of Hua Luogeng calmly pours tea while contemplating the possible solutions to the mathematical mystery of Goldbach’s Conjecture, which is represented by 1+1. The problem has not been fully resolved, but the theories contributed by Hua Luogeng have helped countless mathematicians in formulating the best answers to the classic problem.

Tea has great significance to Hua Luogeng’s ingenuity. It was said that his innovative work on the Integrated Approach of problem solving came to him in a flash of creativity while he was boiling water for drinking tea. He pondered on the most efficient process of boiling the water, rinsing the tea ware, and brewing the tea leaves.

The mathematical genius of Hua Luogeng continued to flourish despite the harsh treatment he and his colleagues received under the changing tides of politics in China. Admirably, he gave up his tenured position in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1950 to come and teach in the motherland. It’s not surprising for Hua Luogeng to give up a good life in the west. Years before in 1938, Hua also left Cambridge University as a visiting scholar and chose to continue his studies at Tsinghua University in Kunming. Because of his sacrifices, the younger generations of Chinese scientists and mathematicians were lucky to receive his mentorship.