Two Black female high school students in New Orleans made a historic math discovery last week – one that mathematicians have failed to prove for upwards of 2,000 years.
Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson, both students at St. Mary’s Academy, revealed they proved the Pythagorean Theorem during a groundbreaking presentation at the American Mathematical Society’s Annual Southeastern Conference last Saturday (March 18).
👊🏾 New Orleans teenagers Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson’s figured out a mathematical equation that had seemingly been impossible. Johnson and Jackson demonstrated that Pythagoras’ Theorem can be proven with trigonometry.#BlackHistory 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/bAKDSkMVoP
— 𝑼𝒏𝒂𝒃𝒂𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑹𝒂𝒘! (@AriesaSandino) March 26, 2023
“You Don’t See Kids Like Us Doing (This)” One Of The Students Says
The two were the only high school students there, which made for a “really unparalleled feeling,” Calcea says, adding “you don’t see kids like us doing it,” according to W-WLTV.
“It’s really an unparalleled feeling, honestly, because there’s just nothing like being able to do something that people don’t think young people can do,” Calcea said. “A lot of times you see this stuff, you don’t see kids like us doing it.”
New Orleans students Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson DID an amazing thing by proving that circular reasoning was needed to produce results.
I.E. the root is not needed and trigonometry can exist independent of that PT. https://t.co/nvABXcw6sk pic.twitter.com/ehzJRpTIFN
— The Ωkkaran Playboy🔯 (@IzmsTheFather) March 26, 2023
Two Black High School Students Prove Pythagorean Theorem Can Be Solved Without Trigonometry
Calcea and Ne’Kiya broke down their discovery to the outlet, while providing a refresher course on the Pythagorean Theorem.
Essentially, trigonometry is based on the Pythagoras’ Theorem (A^2 + B^2 = C^2), therefore using trigonometry to prove Pythagoras’ Theorem is what’s known as circular logic, or more simply: an idea that can’t prove itself.
RELATED: This New York Deli Gives Free Food To Customers Who Can Solve Simple Math Problems
Calcea And Ne’Kiya proved that the theorem can be proven without trigonometry, which was something mathematicians had previously deemed impossible.
The two high school seniors praised their school and teachers for pushing them to do the impossible.
Congrats to these remarkable young ladies at St. Mary's Academy in New Orleans. Calcea Johnson and Ne'Kiya Jackson say they've proved Pythagoras' Theorem can be proven without trigonometry — something that many thought was impossible.https://t.co/C7mcucxdz3
— Marc Morial (@MARCMORIAL) March 25, 2023
“Our slogan is ‘No Excellence Without Hard Labor.’ So, they definitely push us,” Calcea said. “We have really great teachers,” Ne’Kiya added.
Seven Millennium Prize Math Problems That Could Net $1 Million Each For Those Who Solve Them
Perhaps the pair will set their sights on solving more unproven math theories, which could net them so major money should they successfully do so.
Today’s mathematicians would probably agree that the Riemann Hypothesis is the most significant open problem in all of math.
It’s one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems, with $1 million reward for its solution, according to Popular Mechanics.
The six other problems, which were announced in 2000, are the P versus NP problem, Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, Hodge conjecture, Navier-Stokes equation, Yang-Mills theory, and Poincaré conjecture.