The 10 Smartest Kids In The World (And The Crazy maths Problems They Can Solve)

Farrell Wu 12, PhilippinesMeet the 10 smartest kids in the world

Who are the most brilliant kids in the world?

How much would the world benefit if we could find out, and get those kids training from the best educators on the on the planet?

Those are the question that Brilliant, a startup in Palo Alto, California, wants to find answers to.

Brilliant CEO Sue Khim’s belief is that policy-makers are only concerned with the bottom 20% of students around the world, and that the top 10% are “being ignored.”

Khim says her company’s mission is to find “underserved” geniuses around the world, and help provide them with an education by introducing to top educators and educational institutions.

Brilliant is finding these kids with a website,, where anyone can go and answer progressively more difficult maths and science questions in weekly olympiad-style challenges.

So far, 70,000 people from 155 countries have taken part in’s contests.

Already, some incredible people have come to light.

We asked to identify the 10 smartest kids it has ever encountered. Khim and her colleague Molly Turner found nine, and included one more discovered through other channels. Brilliant then reached out to the parents of these children and got their permission to tell their stories.

15-year-old Phoebe Cai of the USA is working on data analysis for U Penn's medical school

A 15-year old high school junior, Phoebe Cai is already engaged in research at a collegiate level, assisting in the data analysis of a research project at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

This past fall, Cai placed eighth in the maths Prize for Girls at MIT and was a bronze medalist at the maths Prize for Girls Olympiad.

Cai also qualified for the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad this year, and is a two-year member of the Lehigh Valley Fire team, which won first place at the Princeton University maths Competition in 2012. Cai hopes to study science in college and eventually pursue a graduate degree.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Here's a problem Phoebe solved about dominos

Dylan Toh,12, of Singapore's abstract linear algebra skills are the envy of college students

Dylan solved this ridiculously hard geometry problem

Tadewos Abiye Getachew, 17, of Ethiopia developed teach software called Cognitosoft

Tadewos Abiye Getachew lives in Bole, a sub-city just outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

17-year-old Getachew and his teammates recently placed 1st in his sub-city's science fair for developing Cognitosoft, a software program that aims to introduce students in rural Ethiopia to computer science, physics, and mathematics in local Ethiopian languages.

Getachew and his teammates have partnered with sponsors to assist in the free distribution of Cognitosoft to rural communities.

Getachew scored in the 99th percentile of Ethiopia's National Examination and placed 1st in the Gibson School Systems World Maths Day competition.

Getachew plans to pursue a degree and a career in computer science and mathematics.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Tadewos nailed this tricky algebra question

A 16-year-old student at the Pusat PERMATApintar Negara centre for gifted and talented students in Malaysia, Inderjit Kaur can boast of accomplishments other than just academic success.

She has also led a team in several successful robotics competitions, including winning the gold medal in the International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors 2012.

Her team's Nanny Robot was designed to monitor a baby's status using sound and temperature sensors, which would activate functions such as rocking the baby in a swing, or contacting parents based on the child's cries.

Kaur hopes to eventually pursue a degree in neuroscience from an American university and to continue experimenting with the creation of humanoid robotics.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

This was a rather straightforward, easy word problem for Inderjit

Joey Hudy, 16, of the USA is most proud of his printed circuit expansion boards

At only 16 years of age, Joey Hudy has already met the President of the United States and won a number of awards for his engineering creations, the most recent of which was for creating a solar powered computer in the Sun Valley Solar Ultimate Challenge.

An active participant in Maker Faire, Hudy's proudest creations so far are his two LED Arduino Shields--printed circuit expansion boards -- which he hopes can be used to help introduce other kids to the concept of engineering for fun.

He has also started a small business selling the Shields on several websites.

Hudy is currently completing his high school maths and science track at Herberger Young Scholars Academy at Arizona State University, an accelerated school where he'll graduate next year.

His goal is to become an electrical engineer and to someday work for Maker Media Inc.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Joey isn't much for school. He prefers making things like this 3x3x3 LED Cube Arduino Shield

Nur Muhammad Shafiullah, 15, is the youngest student from Bangladesh to compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad

Nur Muhammad Shafiullah holds an impressive number of mathematics olympiad records in Bangladesh, and is the youngest student from Bangladesh to compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad and in the International Olympiad in Informatics.

In 2012, Shafiullah received a bronze medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad in Argentina, and has received the highest score at the Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad three years in a row.

Outside of olympiads, 15-year-old Shafiullah works at maths camps in Bangladesh and is a moderator of a Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad online student forum. He plans to apply for colleges abroad upon graduating high school next year and is interested in studying computer science or biology.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

This is a very difficult combinatorial geometry problem, but Nur solved it

Kensen Shi, 17, of the USA is co-authoring a paper on a more efficient method of motion planning.

Kensen Shi is a 17-year-old senior at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas.

He won the top individual prize for the national Siemens Competition in maths, Science, and Technology in 2012.

Shi is co-authoring a research paper introducing his winning project, Lazy Toggle PRM. Lazy Toggle is a more efficient method of motion planning, which has a number of uses in robotics, animation, and game design.

Shi placed 6th in the Intel Science Talent Search in 2013, has competed in a number of US mathematical olympiads, and has a passion for playing the piano, twice winning the National Piano Audition from the National Guild of Piano Teachers.

Shi is currently conducting research at the Parasol Laboratory at Texas A&M University, and plans to major in computer science at Stanford University.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Kensen solved this kind of problem during the US physics olympiad this year

Raghav Sood, 15, of India has published several Android and Blackberry apps

This is called a combinatorics problem. Raghav solved it.

Lawrence Sun, 16, of the USA is going to MIT this fall

Lawrence Sun is a 16 year old junior from Oregon who will matriculate to MIT this fall, forgoing his high school graduation.

Sun was one of only 20 students invited to participate on the 2012 United States Physics Team.

At the 2012 International Symposia on Multi-Valued Logic, Sun presented his published research on the use of robot programming techniques to find contradictions in laws governing police use of force.

Sun captained his team in the 2013 Winter Online maths Open, which placed first out of 119 competing teams. Sun plans to major in either physics, computer science, or mathematics at MIT. After MIT, he hopes to pursue a career in research, either in academia, or technology development.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Lawrence solved this geometry problem.

Farrell Wu, 12, of the Philippines began trading stocks at three.

Farrell Wu began doing maths at age one and was trading stocks at age three.

Wu's insatiable thirst for knowledge led him to read through the encyclopedia while waiting for his parents to pick him up from school.

Last fall, Wu placed third in the Philippines Mathematical Olympiad at the age of 12, surprising both the judges and his peers.

In 2013, matched Wu with a mathematics professor from the University of Michigan for private tutoring sessions to study undergraduate level linear algebra.

According to his mentor, Wu is already at the level of an exceptional undergraduate maths major.

Wu plans to continue his studies in mathematics in the United States and to pursue a career in investment banking.

Bio written by Molly Turner,

Farrell solved this tricky combinatorics problem.

BONUS: Here's one of Lawrence Sun's problems solutions

Bonus: This is one of Farrell Wu's crazy solutions

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