Okay. So, after that earlier emotional outburst, let me share what happened in the class today. It was once again time to learn from one of the most fantastic teachers I have ever met – Dr. Rajiv Gandhi. At the outset, he reminded everyone of the ground rules of the course. He asked every student’s name and there was 78 students from various countries. At the end of the class, he could say the names of around 65 students correctly. There were students with almost every shade of skin colour and hair colour. All of them were passionate about Mathematics. We started with Boolean algebra and proofs today and there is no better way than how Dr. Gandhi teaches. He comes up with so many bogus proofs and makes the students feel that he is correct. After a lot of churning of the mind the students figure out the flaws. The advantage in this way of teaching is that the students remain alert always and also remain skeptic.
Most students were from 8th to 12th grade but there were some who were doing their undergrad and there was, of course, me. Some students were shy and some were not. Lot of Chinese and Korean students seemed very bright and hardworking. But so did some American students and students of Indian origin. There was one guy whose hand was always up (for about 2.5 hours out of the first session of 3 hours) for doubts or comments. There could be seen Math geeks and some who found it difficult to express their thoughts well mainly because they were way too intelligent. There were some who were so wonderful in abstract thinking and there were some who were good with algebra. It was a perfect mix of all these wonder kids and I cannot even imagine what kind of an exposure each student is going to get in the coming 5 weeks.
We took a break for lunch. I had a very tasty salad during lunch with Dr. Gandhi while we discussed a few things. We moved back to the classroom after an hour. The post lunch session was on working on assignments for three hours. During this slot, all the senior batch students (18 of them which included the three students who came with me from India) came down. Each of them had a list of 3-5 students whom they would be mentoring during the course. The junior batch students (my batch) would submit their assignments to these mentors who in turn were supposed to clarify their doubts and grade them. The senior batch not only had to do this but also their own study and homework.
The senior batch was mind-blowing. In my short interactions with some of them, I could get a sense of it. I also met two brothers (out of three) who had done this course PACT earlier. These brothers had a very good reputation in Princeton and were geniuses in Mathematics. I was wondering, we have to do a very big hunt to get genius students all over the country, and here we have three of them in just one family!
The assignment session concluded by 4:30 pm and we all left the building. It was a great day that I will remember and cherish mainly because, seldom in my life have recollected memories (in a few minutes) of all the people on whose shoulders I stand today.
Looking forward to the coming days.