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Featured Member - Andrei Golovanov

We will be featuring different members of the Brilliant community, so that you can get to know them better. For the seventh issue, we are featuring Andrei Golovanov, who is a carefree 13-year old that is wowing us with his grasp of mathematics as a powerful tool to decode the real world. He's been sharing several interesting problems in combinatorics, which provides further avenues for exploration.

One of his problems that I really enjoyed thinking about is as follows:


It is not immediately apparent how one can approach this problem, or how Andrei could possibly obtain information about the cards from a trolling Kostya. Give it a try, but be warned that it is really difficult.

One of the solutions that we love, is to calculate the number of integers greater than 6000 that can be formed using the digits 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 without repetition. It is short and clearly written, so if you're having some difficulty, check it out!

1. Tell us more about yourself.
​Hi! My name is Andrei. Although I am originally from the US (specifically, I was born in New York), I now live in Russia. I enjoy solving math problems on Brilliant during my free time while listening to classical music (which sounds weird until one plays it). However, I also have an extraordinary variety of other interests, ranging from football to magic tricks, from the French Revolution to Ashtanga Yoga. I enjoy practically all subjects.
There was a moment when physics-modern physics-was my favourite topic. Now I swim around the house through quantum mechanics and relativity textbooks-I recommend trying it out! I hope to commence studying classical mechanics through use of Brilliant.
I love reading (I try to read literature in four languages: Russian, English, French and Spanish).
I also adore dodgeball. If you're interested.

2. What encouraged you to learn mathematics / physics?
When I was about 9 I mass-ordered some math and science textbooks, including ones to prepare for GCSEs and A-Levels (approximately the equivalent of JEE), as well as some on Advanced Physics, Advanced Chemistry and Advanced Biology. However, my best inspiration to start studying physics was a certain book by one Professor Walter Lewin. It is called "For the Love of Physics", and if you have not read it, I encourage you to order it as soon as possible. From this book, I learned about Walter Lewin's lectures on the MIT website about classical mechanics, electromagnetism, optics etc., and they showed me the beauty of physics. Mr Lewin wants to demonstrate pendulum motion: he gets on to a big pendulum and swings around. Or he calculates the speed of a bullet. Or he creates an artificial rainbow. He is an incredible teacher. You can view his lectures at MIT archive or Youtube. These are only the classical mechanics ones!
There is such beauty in math and physics. Physics explains the world in a beautiful way, down to the smallest quarks and up to the universe. Math is a tool that can be used in physics - but not only in physics, it can be used everywhere!

3. What is one fun fact about yourself that the Brilliant community doesn’t know about.
There are several fun facts about me, one of them slightly paradoxical.

  1. Firstly, I LOVE apples! (Not very interesting but true anyhow).
  2. One of my hobbies has already been hinted at (try finding how). It is my love of playing musical instruments. I can play three: piano (on which I have just finished studying Rachmaninov's Prelude in C Sharp Minor), guitar (on which I can now play Albeniz's "Asturias") and recorder.
  3. Next, I hate video games and potatoes.
  4. I did not know about factorials or anything related to combinatorics before I came to Brilliant. Now it's my favourite topic!
  5. Finally, I am currently lying.

4. What do you want to accomplish in the next few years?
I have no clear idea of where I will be when I grow up. During the next few years, I want to participate in math olympiads and table tennis contests, and, most importantly, enjoy the no-worries and no-cares aspect of childhood.

5. What do you wish for Brilliant?
What makes Brilliant stand out from other websites such as Khan Academy is the Community section. One may imagine Khan Academy as a two-dimensional website; whereas Brilliant is most certainly and unequivocally three-dimensional. The extra dimension of depth is given by the Community section. One may discuss problems with enthusiasts and professionals with extraordinary talents and chambers upon chambers of expertise. Stuck? Need help? Can't grasp a concept? You can discuss with real people, who are there, now. They can help you and teach you.
I hope that Brilliant will become more popular and helpful etc., but above all, I hope that the Community section will be developed. I have never seen such a huge amount of problems from different subject areas in one place, where they can easily be found, attempted, hopefully, solved, and discussed.

Note by Calvin Lin
1 year, 1 month ago

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@Andrei Golovanov Congrats for being featured! :) I also play table-tennis. Lets see if it is possible for us to have a duel (The probability is quite low though :( ). At such young age , your combinatorial skills are fabulous. (Probably the most outstanding of all on Brilliant :) ). Keep up the good work! :) Nihar Mahajan · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Nihar Mahajan "Probably the most outstanding of all at Brilliant". Definitely not. I am very new to this area and most people here are better at it than I am.

Table tennis. Hmmm. Andrei Golovanov · 1 year, 1 month ago

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So, you are currently lying. I recommend that you study about Lie Algebras, particularly if you like physics.

Lie Algebra Michael Mendrin · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Michael Mendrin Lie algebras are beautiful. Jake Lai · 11 months, 3 weeks ago

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Congrats Andrei for being the youngest to be feature in Brilliant. You will achieve much in the few years to come. And I am waiting eagerly to hear about it. Chew-Seong Cheong · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Andrei, I was 13 once, and it looks like back then you would have been more than a match for me in math skills! I don't think I could have solved some of your posted problems! Michael Mendrin · 1 year, 1 month ago

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We both joined Brilliant around the same time. And you have progressed a lot in that time. Aditya Chauhan · 1 year, 1 month ago

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they are the future of world Amii Robin · 11 months, 3 weeks ago

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I was about to comment "No offense, but you look 13." Jake Lai · 11 months, 3 weeks ago

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Oh hello Tf K · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Congratulations Andrei for beinh featured.I really enjoyed your combinatorics sets , fabulous problems.,... And yes indeed you possess a combinatorial mind as Nihar said .Once again congratulations . Chinmay Sangawadekar · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Congrats! You are multi talented!:) Siddharth Singh · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Congrats, Andrei ! Great Going . Same Age, Different Talents For Us . Anish Harsha · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Anish Harsha felt the same Vishwathiga Jayasankar · 1 year ago

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Congrats for being featured!

@Andrei Golovanov Swapnil Das · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Andrei Golovanov I eagerly anticipate what you would achieve in the next few years! Calvin Lin Staff · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Congrats @Andrei Golovanov (the [n]C[r]ombinatinator) for being featured! Harsh Shrivastava · 1 year, 1 month ago

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Congratulations on getting yourself featured! @Andrei Golovanov And I would not doubt @Nihar Mahajan's Table tennis skills ;) I would eagerly like to see you duel .

And keep developing your Combi skills. (Though you do not need to)

Keep up the good work! :D Mehul Arora · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Mehul Arora Looks like praising someone's Math skills gets me downvotes. Mehul Arora · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Mehul Arora Or maybe it's because of talking sports smack. Ya gotta expect that kind of response. Let me try making a straight compliment on math skills and see if I get any downvotes. Don't you downvote me as I do this. Michael Mendrin · 1 year, 1 month ago

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@Michael Mendrin Haha, Sure I won't. Rather, I'm gonna upvote this comment :P Mehul Arora · 1 year, 1 month ago

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