Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by BVN
Two Black high school seniors from New Orleans have taken the academic and math world by storm by showing a new way to look at one of math’s most hallowed formulas, the 2000-year old Pythagorean theorem.
Calcea Johnson and Ne’kiya Jackson, two seniors from St Mary’s Academy in New Orleans, caused a stir at a recent math conference when they showed how they used trigonometry to prove the theory.
The Pythagorean theorem states that the sum of squares on a right triangle’s two shorter sides equal the square of its third and longest side. The formula is well known as a2 + b2 = c2.
For 2,000 years, mathematicians have been trying to prove the theorem without using the equation itself.
The formula is used to calculate many things, and is especially used in architecture, navigation, aviation, building construction and computer science.
Johnson and Jackson, the only high school students to present at the conference – American Mathematical Society Southeastern Regional Conference in Atlanta –said they used the Law of Shines to prove the theorem. This law finds angles of a general triangle.
The American Mathematical Society encouraged them to submit their findings to a peer-reviewed journal so it can be determined whether their finding is a correct contribution to the math field.
“There’s nothing like it, being able to prove something that people don’t think that young people can do,” Johnson said. “I saw a bunch of people writing down stuff and pulling up things on their computers. And they really connected with this,” Johnson said.
“We got a lot of congratulations,” Jackson said. “Some people apparently started recording.”