Redemption: Part II

Last week, a journey began to find the solution to a problem I could not solve as a seventeen year-old boy. That problem became an obsession of mine during the last days of the International Math Olympiad of 1997, the days when I also met the first girl I ever kissed. At the time, I did not have the heart to tell the girl that I had traveled across the Atlantic to compete with the best and brightest and had come up short. I told her that I had solved the problem, but that the page with my answer had been lost. I told my parents the same thing and to everyone at school who would ask me why I did not return with a medal from the Math Olympics. The lie became so powerful that I did not look at that problem again until now. So, you may be wondering why a blog about Quantum Information Science at Caltech includes posts on problems from Math Olympiads. And why I would open the book on the page with that one problem after fifteen years… Continue reading