# Featured member- Chew-Seong Cheong

We will be featuring different members of the Brilliant community, so that you can get to know them better. For the third issue, we are featuring Chew-Seong Cheong

Chew Seong has written more than 1000 solutions, and has received close to 5000 upvotes on them. That is certainly no mean feat, I admire his trigonometric solutions, in which he provides insight into how one can calculate strange combinations of these functions. As an example, what is the value of $(\cot 70 ^ \circ + 4 \cos 70 ^ \circ ) ^2$ ?

He has also started to share some of his favorite problems with the community. The one that is most loved asks us to calculate the value of $\sqrt{i}$. I look forward to seeing more problems (and solutions) in the future.

1) Tell us more about yourself.

I live near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with my wife and three children. My wife is a full-time housewife; my eldest son works in the IT industry; the eldest daughter, graduated from Australia end last year, has started working as an architect and the youngest daughter will continue her study in digital media in a Taiwanese university this September. None of them talk math with me.

I joined Brilliant more than a year ago when I was recuperating after my esophageal cancer treatment. But not to worry, I am all well. The endoscopy, biopsy and PET-CT scan showed that there is no more tumor growth. I shall be able to, as my wife would say, "sitting down there [the rattan chair] playing my stuff [solving Brilliant's problems] and doing nothing else" for a number of years to come.

For many years, I have been searching for a website which I could solve interesting math problems. My condition forced me to retire from work with nothing much to do. Then I found Brilliant. It is just brilliant.

2) What is one fun fact about yourself that the Brilliant community doesn't know about?

My streak has just passed over a year. Within the last year, I had been solving Brilliant problems daily without fail at home and six foreign countries; in the Hague, the Netherlands; Paris, France; Basel, Switzerland; Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Hanover, Germany; Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Australia; and Singapore. The six weeks' stay in Melbourne for my daughter's graduation provided me the most fun. Ahead of other Brilliantants in time, unless you live in New Zealand, I was able to be the first to solve many problems and provided many solutions, so much so that Sisir Mridha called me the "Solution Master".

I am not so much of a mathematician. I have never formally learnt Number Theory, higher level Algebra nor Calculus. I was just able to solve Brilliant problems with little stuff that I know. After joining Brilliant, I managed to learn up many theorems and Python programming, which helps me to "cheat". While I am always intrigued by theorems beautifully applied to solve a problem, I am also attracted by the graphical beauty that math brings. I like to incorporate graphics whenever I can in my solutions. My latest one was what I thought was a Pascal triangle showing odd and even numbers but Pi Han Goh called it a Sierpinski triangle in his problem titled Parity Coefficient. I solved it without knowing Kummer's theorem; and Pi Han asked me to prove why the solution must be of the form $3(2^k)-1$, which I couldn't.

3) What do you want to accomplish in the next few years?

Moving forward, I should be able to work again in the education field. I will continue to learn more on math from the many great minds in Brilliant. I will read up on Kummer's and Sierpinski's if I encounter parity coefficients again. I will continue to write solutions whenever I can and be more active in posting problems. It has been an exciting and enriching experience learning together with fellow Brilliantants.

Note by Calvin Lin
4 years, 9 months ago

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

• Use the emojis to react to an explanation, whether you're congratulating a job well done , or just really confused .
• Ask specific questions about the challenge or the steps in somebody's explanation. Well-posed questions can add a lot to the discussion, but posting "I don't understand!" doesn't help anyone.
• Try to contribute something new to the discussion, whether it is an extension, generalization or other idea related to the challenge.

MarkdownAppears as
*italics* or _italics_ italics
**bold** or __bold__ bold
- bulleted- list
• bulleted
• list
1. numbered2. list
1. numbered
2. list
Note: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctly
paragraph 1paragraph 2

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[example link](https://brilliant.org)example link
> This is a quote
This is a quote
    # I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
# I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
MathAppears as
Remember to wrap math in $$ ... $$ or $ ... $ to ensure proper formatting.
2 \times 3 $2 \times 3$
2^{34} $2^{34}$
a_{i-1} $a_{i-1}$
\frac{2}{3} $\frac{2}{3}$
\sqrt{2} $\sqrt{2}$
\sum_{i=1}^3 $\sum_{i=1}^3$
\sin \theta $\sin \theta$
\boxed{123} $\boxed{123}$

Sort by:

Thanks for featuring me. I really want to know how Brian Charlesworth looks like. Hope that Brian will be featured.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Great to see you featured, and glad to hear that your prognosis is good. You really are the "Solution Master"; I tried to keep up with your pace for a while but there's no way I can catch up now. As for what I look like .... well, I prefer as much anonymity, (at least online), as possible, so no picture (or feature) is forthcoming, but I've been told that I look like what you would expect, given my name. :)

P.S.. I'm particularly impressed that you kept up your streak even with all that traveling. That's dedication.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Too bad but I have to respect your privacy. I will just have to $\sqrt{-1}$.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Hahaha. Yes, I am imaginary. :)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I picture you looking something like this:

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Brock, this is a good one. But doesn't it look more like the villain in Thor?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Do you mean Malekith the Dark Elf?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Malekith!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I suppose there is a resemblance.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Hahahaha

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Amazing! That's exactly what I see when I look in a mirror. :)

Edit: I just looked at this image from 8 feet back; now it really makes sense. Did you produce this? Really cool, regardless.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I actually wrote some Python to generate predictions about what your face might look like. At first I thought it was an error, but now that I think about it it's the only thing that makes sense.

EDIT: My program also generated this as the second most likely portrait:

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Hahahahaha Yeah, all Canadians look kinda like beavers. :P They really are funny-looking creatures, goofy tail and all.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Brock, now I have a better idea. Have not seen a live beaver before but tropical otters.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Brock, this is a good one. But doesn't it look more like the villain in Thor?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Just had a look on pic in my mobile and I was wondering what was it. And now after reading the comments I figured that it's a really nice illusion.

- 4 years, 6 months ago

Great going, sir. Hope you remain as legend of brilliant forever !

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Let's hope there will be more good fellow members.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks

- 4 years, 9 months ago

hey a liitle tiny doubt of visual basic. heres the code num1=10 num2=8 str(num1)+num2=textbox1.text code ends would it be an error or would the resultant be 108.please tell .i thing its gonna be a error

- 4 years, 6 months ago

I also want to see how @Brian Charlesworth looks like.

- 3 years, 2 months ago

I hope we can.

- 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm really very impressed by the enthusiasm which Cheong sir has at this age. Most of people like to sit back and relax after their retirement, but not in his case. He's really a true model of " There is no age of learning" .

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Rishabh, thanks for your kind comments. Yes, lifelong learning is the word.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

@Rishabh Tripathi , even more so in this 21st century, things are changing like never before so we need to constantly learn so as to adapt to the fast-evolving world.

@Chew-Seong Cheong , do keep your ageless passion for math burning in you! As a person who likes math, I am really glad to know of people who continue to love math regardless of age! Happy to know that there are passionate people like you! :) :) :) In the words of Rishabh, you are an inspiration, Chew-Seong!!!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Congrats sir. You deserved this.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks pal.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

You're like an inspiration to the new generation. I don't know about others but I'm much motivated by your way of being dedicated to what you love and I can say that I'll certainly follow the same throughout my life. LIFELONG LEARNING.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Nice to know that I am your inspiration. Not so much to my kids though.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I love math and science, and no inclination for finance or administration, and a non religious by nature.. My son is very good at these two and is religious! Often kids get fatigued at our likings! If kids love and care for us, I think that is the best situation. I fortunately have both love and care. I do not expect them to have the same liking as I do. My parents greatly loved me. And that was the only thing I wanted from them. They were neither rich nor learned. I would request you not to expect them to follow you. Let them free to charter their lives. By. With best wishes.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

No, I don't expect my kids to follow my footsteps. We don't talk math, but we have other things to talk about. In Malaysia, especially when you are a minority, you are savvy about politics. It is the daily topic with my eldest son and youngest daughter. Malaysia is becoming the most corrupt country in the world. Just this week Walls Street Journal reported our Prime Minister pocketed USD200 million. Two weeks ago the Age in Australia reported a government agency purchased highly overpriced properties. We are never lack of topics to talk about politics. My daughter in the middle of my three kids is now an architect. She score A in physics but she like art more. She actually took after me. I was a champion in art during elementary school. And being artistic runs in the family. My brothers and a sister can draw well. So are our children. I was a singing champion in elementary and middle school and none in the family including the young ones can beat me. I talk about movies, pop arts, food, music, languages, history, cultures, travels with my children. I was the first and only one among the brothers and sisters to go to university. I have learnt not to expect others to be same as me.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for the insight to your life. I feel very happy reading it. I too am much interested in politics, Indian, USA and the world. My 20-30% time is reading news on line! Rest of the free time on the web, trying to learn some interesting things from google on math or with Brilliant. I am retired with no responsibility staying with my son and daughter-(inlaw) with so much loving care even from my two grand daughters who are on their job one at San Jose the other at New York we in Austin Texas! With best wishes.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

"None of them talk math with me". Yeah, that really resonates with me. I have (and have had) many friends and family members that are (or were) professionals in technical fields, and yet I can't ever seem to get them interested in talking about or doing math. Brilliant.org offers me the chance to do that, so here I am.

Decades ago, I've heard that "mathematics is a young man's game", and guys like us are supposed to be washed up already. But it looks like you're just getting warmed up. I congratulate you in your mission to educate and enlighten fellow Brilliantants. Kudos to you, for not letting life slow you down.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Your level is so far apart from ordinary earthing like me, it can be difficult to find people to talk to you in math. I only managed to solve one of your problem and that also third trial after a span of long time.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

What a man you are!

That dedication and motivation to keep solving problems on every corner of the Earth is quite inspirational!

@Chew-Seong I really hope you get PHD soon. (And become Dr.Chew)

"A Genius is 99% perspiration and 1%inspiration"

# Solution Master #Legend

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Me too. But I am yet to decide to take on or not. Thanks for your comments.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

My vote had gone to Brian Charlesworth and you. In many problems I have seen both of you. I was just wondering who you must be! Yes now I know, and the first thing is to wish you best of health. I think you had asked about my real age, and we had some communication. I too love brilliant but am not able to solve many problems. Lack of good memory is a little obstruction. My best wishes for you and your family.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I was saying that my mother is same age with you, but she doesn't do math.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Seong is amazing ,as always ;)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Its Mr. Cheong* (I have already clarified this with him)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks pal

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Hope you get into ITT

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I was waiting for you and Brian sir to be featured on brilliant. Hopefully, he would be featured next. Congrats and hats off for your amazing solutions and problems.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for liking my solutions.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

His retirement was just a beginning of his journey through math

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, a journey of romancing with math.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I USE A THINKPAD TOO!!! I see that you use an external mouse. Ya, I really don't like the mouse-pad on the laptop.

I too cheat on many of the number theory problems (whenever I can), but I've never learnt how to use a spreadsheet for such purposes. Heck! I didn't even know that one could use it for this purpose till I came across one of your solutions. By the end of this summer, I'm gonna master it! That's my goal!

Stay strong and keep fighting!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I need to use Python and Excel to do computations to confirm solutions. Chemo has affected my memory. Spreadsheet cannot handle iteration well, but it is very good in presenting graphically. I am finding it handy in presenting Logic solutions such as The cake is a Liar. Part 3. Have more practice and you will master it.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

MATLAB is much easier for such purposes than Python, Java or C++. Why don't you try it out?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yah, you mean Wolfram Alpha. I have not learnt up MathLab yet.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Wolfram alpha is not the same as MATLAB, is it? It's a website, right? Created by Stephen Wolfram? MATLAB was created in 1984 by John Little.

It's a programming language for engineers. There are tons of projects that you can do with it. I think recently, some students at some university (I forgot) made a walking pair of legs (it walks and balances by itself) using Matlab.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, I mixed up. Wolfram's is Mathematica and not MATLAB.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

@Chew-Seong Cheong and I once had a small discussion about life-cycle of butterflies :)

What are the other things you enjoy doing apart from Mathematics (I know you like travelling)

:)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I like Biology too. I have done a few of the Biology problems in Brilliant recently and provided solutions. The Body's Buffer System, I don't have a cool name for this, Homeostasis? and others.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

My first love is Physics. But it is getting tough, I can't handle QM.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

You were trained as an electrical engineer. Your love for Physics is obvious. As far as I remember, you have also worked in many places. And now, you want to pursue a Phd. I agree with Rishabh, your enthusiasm is really inspiring.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Sir you are one of the human wolfram alpha of brilliant!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I hope I can be.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Does the bird at the right in your profile picture , has some significance? :P :P :P Actually the bird is lucky enough to have a picture with a genius mind like you :P xD

- 4 years, 9 months ago

What bird? There is no bird.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

See the bird encircled in red. It seems you have given some space for it to have him in your picture.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, didn't notice you mentioned about profile picture. I have a chemo brain now and this type of slips of mind can happen. Gulls are everywhere in Australian coastal cities. Seen them in Melbourne and Sidney.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Chew-Seong Cheong Sir, which would theorem would you consider as the most beautiful one in Mathematics?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Euler's $e^{i\pi} = -1$. It links the imaginary to the real, the irrational to rational, the positive to negative.

Pierre-Simon Laplace: "Lisez Euler, lisez Euler, c'est notre maître à tous."

- 4 years, 9 months ago

- 4 years, 9 months ago

This equation is regarded as the most BEAUTIFUL mathematical equation. Congrats for being feautured sir!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Congrats Sir. Looking forward to see more from you.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks. I will post more solutions.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

@Chew-Seong Cheong congrats on being featured on brilliant! You r the best example of no age for learning. You r so modest. You didn't mention to people that u r about to do PhD. You are really great! Congrats! $:)$

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I have not decided yet. The wife doesn't know about it yet. She may worried about my health condition.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Ooh! Get well soon sir! Let your wife know that u r doing PhD and convince her that you'll not take too much pressure while doing PhD. All the best!

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I think it matters very little, You are Ph. D. or not. What you are doing is a great. And you are learning by your self. At IIT Mumbai there were one Professor only with B.E.in Mechanical guiding Ph.D. Students.{Prof. Belgoanker} and another simple elec. graduate as head of an electric section a lso guiding Ph.D. student. Yes teens do feel that Ph.D. is important. At that age I too felt the same way. Your health is important.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Niranjan, thanks for your advice. I agree with you. I am actually thinking of getting tutorship as an income when I do my PhD.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I am late to this post, but wanted to add. I think it’s really important to do things that bring you joy, especially when you are suffering. It is good for your mental health, to stay strong and inspired, which in turn helps fight physical illness. If mathematics is your joy, and studying a Phd too, you must live and love it! ☀️

- 5 months ago

Thanks for your encouraging works. When this feature article was out, I was quite sure I had very much recovered from cancer. I didn't take on the PhD study, other than not able to get a research subject, I felt that my family would worry the stress which came with study. Hope you find joy in math and science and enjoy your life too.

- 5 months ago

Congrats It is nice to see you featured.You really deserve it .Yeah and your solution writing skills are outstanding ,really we get to know number of ways by which we can solve a problem just because of your solutions.Hats off to you sir :D

- 4 years, 9 months ago

- 4 years, 9 months ago

What topic have you chosen for your PhD?

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for your concern. I don't think I am doing it. My intention was to get some tutorship as income while I do my PhD. But I find that I am unsure of getting the tutorship so I may have to change my plan. Also, I have not got a research area.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Keep up the good work sir :-)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, I will.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Congrats Sir!!!!!Such enthusiasum that you have and I think you're just warming up. There truly is no specific "age" for learning and you've proven that. (Nobody talks math with me at home too.)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe you can post videos on youtube explaining the math stuff I will be the first to follow

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Zack, I don't have such video. You can add me on FB.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I am just giving suggestion that you could post some video or note regarding certain topic so we could learn it thoroughly

- 4 years, 9 months ago

OK, when I find some.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I also want to know more about Pi Han Goh, his questions are truly amazing especially the new logic ones.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

This is more than impressive. If he can do so much with elementary knowledge it forces us to ask ourselves, 'what the hell are you doing with your time?'. I can only $\sqrt{-1}$ what you are going to do in further years. And not only math, he is also highly knowledgable about current affairs, and has a really good sense of humour.

You inspired me, sir. @Chew-Seong Cheong . #respect

- 3 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for your praises. I think when you are my age you will be as wise if not wiser.

- 3 years, 11 months ago

You are one of my favourite teachers who always inspire me....

- 2 years, 1 month ago

How to be a featured member

- 1 week, 6 days ago

how to be a featured member

- 1 week, 6 days ago

It is selected by Brilliant.org staff. You have to be very active in the Brilliant community. Either providing problems or solutions. In my case I have provided a lot of solutions.

- 1 week, 6 days ago

oh thanks!!!

- 1 week, 6 days ago

Everybody has his perversion. Mine is math.

That thing on your status sir, I guess hadn't changed since I was on brilliant. It bagged a place in one of my favorite quotations! You're really awesome sir, I truly respect like your way of looking at things. Your solutions are really unique, and I have to admit I never imagined such a way of solving problems even exists!

Hats off to you sir. And do look into your health . . . $\huge \ddot\smile$

- 4 years, 9 months ago

It is the best line I can think of so far. It is original.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

That's what I like the most about you sir! $\text{you are very much original}$

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Heartiest Congratulations @Chew-Seong Cheong Sir! You really are an inspiration To all of us! :D

"Don't Let age act as a barrier in learning". You truly have proved this :D

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't know why this has got 2 downvotes :/

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I have Just no idea. :/ :/

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Chew-Seong Cheong Nice to hear you are featured sport for late posting. Sir you are my inspiration in mathematics can you tell us how do you solve problems (Approaching skills)?

- 4 years, 7 months ago

For a problem with solution, the person who set the problem already has a particular approach of solving in mind. What we first do is to guess what approach the problem setter has in mind. In most cases it will be the easiest approach. I am also hard working. I may try a few methods before coming to a good one to present. I also use numerical methods to solve problems before finding the best written solution. The solutions can tell you the methods needed.

- 4 years, 7 months ago

evaluate(in visual basic) num1=10 ,num2=8

str(num1)+num2 what would be the result or an error? explain.i think it is gonna be an error

- 4 years, 6 months ago

Sorry, I don't know Visual Basic.

- 4 years, 6 months ago

do u know someone who does.?

- 4 years, 6 months ago

Nope. You can post it as a note in this site.

- 4 years, 6 months ago