“Insights Always Seem So Obvious in Retrospect”

Kevin Tian had this gmail chat status: “insights always seem so obvious in retrospect”. I was intrigued and decided to inquire about the nature of this statement. Knowing Kevin, I should have expected that it be related to math; nonetheless, it was still funny.

me: what kind of saying is that?
Kevin: after i solve the usatst #4
i’m like
wow
basically there’s a spiral similarity
and then you do this reflection
the spiral similarity is pretty obvious
but the reflection is like
dang
yeah i didnt come up with that on my own
i had a hint
me: wow
your explanation sounds hilarious
Kevin: your face sounds hilarious
darn you should help me with this problem
given an isomorphism f on a finite tree T f:T->T show that there either exists a fixed point or there exists two vertices a and b originally connected such that f(a) = b and f(b) = a
me: yeah i’m lost
Kevin: same
apparently there is a topological solution
but i’m trying to find one on my own

This kid (who was a sophomore in high school at the time) is going to solve the universe one day.

About Sean Li

A student at Cornell University.
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