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Youngest attendee of World Laureate Forum only 15 years old

(study.edu.sh.gov.cn) | Oct 31, 2019

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Fang Tanlin's guest pass for the 2nd World Laureate Forum [Photo from People's Daily's Weibo account]

A photo of a girl's guest pass for the 2nd World Laureate Forum in Shanghai recently trended on social media due to her shockingly young age.

Fang Tanlin, a 15-year-old freshman in high school, was invited to the forum along with the world's top scientists due to her achievements in mathematics.

When she was in junior high, Fang's research project on the Fibonacci sequence and estimating the Bezout number won first place at both national and city youth science and technology innovation competitions.

Inspired by her father, who is a college math teacher, Fang became interested in math as a child and became curious about number theory when she was a freshmen in junior high.

"My father helped put me in contact with a mathematics professor who studies number theory at East China Normal University and I began doing research under the professor," said Fang.

Fang also attended the 1st World Laureate Forum last year. She said she hoped the forum would broaden her horizons by informing her of the latest research by renowned laureates and giving her an opportunity to meet respected scientists.

When meeting with Gero Miesenböck, winner of the 2019 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, Fang asked what personal quality mattered most in scientific research.

"For research, the most important thing is to be able to adjust your mentality and restart your research repeatedly in the face of difficulties and failures. Because in scientific research, failure is more common than success," said Gero.

Fang said Gero's words were helpful because she is currently struggling to make progress in her research.

"I need to become more knowledgeable and talk more with my professor. I believe my research will move forward," said Fang.

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