# Meet Chris The Amazing Mathematician And Math Tutor

At an early age, Chris got inspired to learn the language of the universe, math. He had supportive parents who helped him on his journey. Without being pushy, they signed him up for extracurricular activities such as Math Contests. Also he got special training at the Carleton Math Enrichment Center. There he gained a mentor, Dragos. He helped Chris sharpen his skills deepen his understanding.

That helped Chris earn top marks in school. He won the Governor General’s Silver Medal Award.

Today, he’s a Masters student at McGill University. He studies the intersection of Geometric Group Theory and Descriptive Set Theory. Specifically, Hyperbolic Groups and how they interact with their boundary.

## How a documentary changed Chris’s life universe

When Chris saw a visualization of the vastness of space, he got captivated. He says to him it put the drama of our lives in perspective. Our earthly lives seem insignificant when compared with the drama of outer space. The documentary made him fall in love with physics and math – the language of the universe. His desire to learn more about the universe sparked his passion to study math even today.

Have you introduced your kids to the universe? It may have the same impact as it did on Chris.

## What Is It Like To be A Mathematician Like Chris?

For most of us, our school curriculum ended with studying up just the “Real” numbers. Mathematicians have to go beyond Real and Imaginary. Chris studies the intersection of Geometric Group Theory and Descriptive Set Theory. Geometric Group Theory is the study of symmetries in geometry. For example a triangle can be symmetrical in 6 different ways. The total number of ways a triangle can be symmetrical is the same as the set of the Dihedral Group 3 (D3).  Each way that a triangle is symmetrical (lines, rotations) is an “element” in the set D3. R0 is the “identity” element and that means nothing changes. Nothing changing is actually considered one kind of symmetry of any object. R1 and R2 are two distinct rotations that are symmetries. F1, F2, F3 are the three lines of symmetries. These are lines where the triangle if one half got reflected it would become a whole triangle.

## How Parents Can Support Their Kid’s Math

Talk to them in an empathic way to see and aim to understand the cause of their struggle with math. It may be from their their lifestyle, routine, or friends. If you can take out the cause of the struggle then it would be best. You can try to reward them for good routines. Try to make math about having fun and get away from the negative attitude a lot of people associate with math. A sure fire way to improve grades is with a tutor.

Sit down with them for 25 minutes every day and go through the homework. Try to make it a game with your child and build up their confidence with the material.

## Good Study Habits To Get Ahead Or Catch Up

For Chris, what worked was making condensed notes right after the class. When he does it right after the lecture, the material is most fresh in his head. Instead of making complete notes, make summaries in your own words. Get all the main points (say 3 per lecture) after each class/lecture.

Get a study partner, mentor or tutor. Find someone who you can study with. Take turns teaching the material to each other. It’s a great way to strengthen your understanding. A mentor is also helpful to guide you. A tutor is even better because they will ensure you understand the important parts.

## Get Involved With Fun Math Activities

Try to integrate math into your child’s life. Aim to study every day for a certain amount of time. Participate in math enrichment classes near you. For example, Chris found joy in taking Carleton Math Courses while he was in high school.

Participate in Math contests

High School Math Contests:

Useful Online Platforms:

In-Person Programs:

## Why A Mentor Was Tremendously Important To Chris

While Chris was in high school he had a mentor, Dragos. He was one of the instructors at his local math enrichment program. Dragos encouraged Chris to pursue math. “He gave kids in this math program challenging problems. And then he showed how you can use reason to solve these challenging,  contest level problems. It’s like  a detective process… [Today] My supervisor has been tremendously helpful and I would not be able to solve my thesis completely on my own.”

Having a tutor or a mentor is not just for those students who are behind and trying to “catch up”. In fact the best students in the world get tutors to get ahead and expand their knowledge.

## Common Myths About Math

• Mathematicians are not an isolated breed of people. In fact, it is a very collaborative field and teamwork is essential.
• To being good at problem solving, a mathematician must be a great communicator.
• It may seem that math is only numbers, in fact pure math involves writing explanations in English. The terms will be describing mathematical concepts. A lot of people get surprised when they find out mathematics doesn’t ONLY involve numbers.
• Math is very useful to society because it is the language of the universe.  A lot of times, math gets accused of being irrelevant In fact most people do not understand what math even is. “You can  think about mathematics as a universe of abstract structures and how each of them  interacts with each other.”

## How To Have A Good Attitude Towards Math

“Even the easiest course, I’ve had to put some effort into it,” Chris says. This is also true with your math courses and classes in school. Don’t ever say that your math class is easy, because you are not understanding some aspect of it yet. Being overconfident causes a lot of surprises and poor performances on tests. No matter how proficient you are, it is always good to practice more. For grades, Chris aims to get perfect on all his assignments. He believes you should always aim to do your best, even if your best isn’t perfect. Well, no one is, because we are all humans, so be proud and take pride in your hard work!

## Watch the full interview:

“Every human feels joy in helping another with something that they’re struggling with.”