Featured Member - Xuming Liang

We will be featuring different members of the Brilliant community, so that you can get to know them better. For the twelfth issue, we are featuring Xuming Liang, who recently developed a theorem and published a paper in the International Journal of Geometry

Tell us more about yourself

I do not consider myself a genius (even though others try to label me), as there are many areas that I struggle in. For example, since I came to America 8 years ago, language has never been a strong suit of mine. You can expect grammatical errors and unconventional interpretations in what I write.
I am considered a late bloomer in mathematics. I did not consciously participate in math competitions till I was in ninth grade, and I was average before that. When I joined the math club, I could barely solve any of the AMC problems, which sparked my desire to learn. I found myself immersed in the math competition culture, and periodically visited AoPS, self-learnt from downloaded pdfs, and solved a lot of problems on Brilliant. Through this process, I grew to love problem solving, and was further motivated to learn math.

Tell us something that others do not know about you.

I'm an atypical asian nerd, because I'm into electronic dance music.
I am interested in Psychology and Sociology, particularly the system of thoughts inside our head and how it relates to our behaviors.
I can spin pens really well. In fact, I used to participate in online pen-spinning competitions. (Before I got obsessed with math of course.)

Describe the Liang-Zelich Theorem
Liang-Zelich theorem describes an invariant property among orthologic triangles (a pair of triangles in which the perpendiculars from the vertices of the first triangle to the sides of the second triangle are concurrent). It states that if PP satisfies the property that PPPP’ interests the Euler line of ABCABC at a given ratio relative to the circumcenter OO and orthocenter HH, where PP’ is the isogonal conjugate of PP wrt ABCABC, then PP also satisfies the same property with respect to its pedal triangle of ABCABC.

What motivated the theorem?
Well, the “given ratio” in the statement hints that it is a generalization of a particular ratio. Indeed! Prior to discovering this theorem, Ivan and I spent a month of two on a problem on AoPS without any synthetic solution at the time. When we solved it, our solution was long and rich in techniques. Ivan and I planned on writing an article about it, but what hindered us was the lack of cohesiveness in the properties we discussed. I also doubted that the an article was worth writing. Here was the problem we solved:

Let O,IO,I denote the circumcenter and incenter of ABCABC. Prove that the nine-point center of the cevian triangle of II lies on OIOI.

Shortly after we solved it, I independently found a much simpler answer, which is posted on my AoPS blog. My solution prompted me to investigate the nine-point center configurations, and it led to the discovery of the following generalization:

If PP satisfies that PPPP’ passed through the nine-point center of ABCABC where P,PP,P’ are isogonal conjugates of ABCABC, then PP satisfies the same property with respect to the pedal triangle of PP.

This is a much harder problem than the one above it, and before Ivan and I could settle down to consider this one, I bravely tested if it could be further generalized. To my utter surprise, the property generalized nicely as the nine-point center can be replaced by any arbitrary point whose position is determined relative to O,HO,H on the Euler Line, i.e we replace nine-point center in the proposition above with TT where TH/TOTH/TO is the given constant.

How did you prove the theorem?
At first, we did not have any ideas on how to prove it. We tried to reframe the problem and produced many equivalences, none of which seemed approachable. The heart of the problem is to show that two ratios are equal, and it was clear that we needed to find some medium to bridge them together. The main obstacle was working with ratios involving central points O,H,P,PO,H,P,P’, which by themselves are immobile and difficult to calculate. In the midst of our clueless inquiry, Ivan came to the rescue with the introduction of a very crucial property that related the ratios with perspective triangles. For once, we have a way to express the seemingly unmovable ratio TH/TOTH/TO in terms of perspective triangles; we had found our appropriate medium!

Seeing that all we needed was to prove this essential property, Ivan and I became more motivated. After a month of back and forth exchange of ideas, we finally slain the beast! Ivan later informed me that he found the crucial property by noticing similar properties occurring for several well known cubics from this website.

What are some applications of the theorem?
Using the theorem, we were able to prove an open problem!

Let ABCABC be a triangle, and OO be its circumcenter. The perpendicular bisectors of BCBC and AOAO intersect at OaO_a. Define Ob,Oc O_b, O_c similarly. What point represents the intersection of the Euler lines of OaObOc O_a O_b O_c and ABC ABC ?

We were also able to provide numerous short proofs to the properties of the McCay cubic, Thomson cubic and Darboux cubic. Several of the old proofs were extremely complicated, but our insights provided us with the right descriptions to demonstrate these properties.

We consider this theorem as a fundamental result in Geometry, as it allows us to easily find new properties of triangle centers in the pedal triangle. We suspect that this theorem could be generalized projectively, to isopivotal cubics invariant under isotomic conjugation.

What do you want to accomplish?
Academically, a short term goal of mine right now is to seize my final opportunity to do well in the USAMO. It has been my dream to participate in the IMO since nineth grade; I cannot believe this is my last year already.
I really enjoy doing research, so I cannot wait to have similar opportunities in the future. Something specific would be contributing to the understanding of a difficult math concept, as well as collaborating with like-minded others.
On the personal side, I hope to achieve financial stability, help those in need by using what I know, and live a happy life.

What do you wish for Brilliant?
Brilliant is no doubt a great site for those who love math, science, and problem solving. The diverse community very welcoming. Brilliant provides me with a platform to share what I've learnt, and makes my passion for mathematics more meaningful. My self-motivation for learning topics of interest, can be shared with others and we all benefit. I wish that more people in the future would contribute back to Brilliant in some way or form. I started out as a beginner on this site and now I want to give back.

Note by Calvin Lin
5 years, 8 months ago

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So, you're the guy that solved my Fractional Orthogonal Circles. And you "argue a lot". Well, that's two things we now have in common, and I have you on follow. It's quite impressive that you have a published paper already, and I have trouble even pronouncing its title. I notice that your talent in spinning pens must have made you an expert on pencils.

Michael Mendrin - 5 years, 8 months ago

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I am afraid I was not the person in your mind who solved the problem, but since you said that I felt obligated to solve the problem. I solved it synthetically and found many interesting properties along the way. For example, can you show that the centers of circles n,n+1,n+3,n+4n,n+1,n+3,n+4 are concyclic?

Your problems have always been original and insightful, and it has been a mission for me solve all of them. Yes I admit that the title of the paper is way too technical and may appear uninviting. Nonetheless I hope everyone is able to understand what the theorem is basically about by reading this note.

BTW I actually don't argue a lot, I don't know when I decided to put that as a signature. I do justify myself a lot because my words are often misinterpreted.

Xuming Liang - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Well, that is strange, I seem to distinctly recall a "Xuming Liang" as one of the solvers of one of my recently posted problems, and there aren't many. Still, for you to have solved that problem by synthetic means is quite a feat, especially on such a short notice. I'm not sure if I'm up to that task, of using the same to prove that the centers of circles n,n+1,n+3,n+4n, n+1, n+3, n+4 are concyclic. Instead of using the usual coordinate geometry means.

As for titles of published papers, the most revolutionary, significant papers in mathematics and science tend to sound just like your paper. But of course! I've already downloaded the PDF of your paper, and I'm finding it interesting that it involves cubic loci instead of the usual conic sections, that could arise from something as simple as properties of the triangle.

Let me do say that I did first heard of your name "Xuming Liang" in connection with proposals to start a Synthetic Geometry group in Brilliant, and I had to look up "synthetic geometry" to remind myself what that meant. So, both of those names stuck.

Michael Mendrin - 5 years, 8 months ago

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It is amazing to know a teenager who has published a paper in an international journal and a theorem named after. I am sure I will be hearing more of these about you in the future. I feel great to be associated with you in Brilliant.

Chew-Seong Cheong - 5 years, 7 months ago

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Wow Xuming! You have written a nice paper and you didn't tell me! Congrats for being featured , you are one of my most favorite ones!

Nihar Mahajan - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Hi Xuming! Your geometry problems are really mind blowing! Congrats on publishing a paper in the international journal of geometry. If it is possible do try making a problem which uses high level synthetic geometry and high level calculus. It would be really awesome to solve your problem!

Aditya Kumar - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Hmm...that would definitely be interesting. I actually already have some ideas on proposing such a problem, so keep a look out for it. Thank you for the kind words.

Xuming Liang - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Wow! I'll be waiting to solve it!

Aditya Kumar - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Glad to know you on Brilliant,@Xuming Liang !!! Heartiest congratulations!.:D

Yuki Kuriyama - 5 years, 7 months ago

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Congrats @Xuming Liang for being featured. I learned a lot regarding geometry from you during the days when you posted the proof problems on Geometry. I love them a lot. And all the best for your bright future.

Surya Prakash - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Congratulations for being featured!

@Xuming Liang

Swapnil Das - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Awesome that you published a paper!You're no doubtedly a genius(whether you believe it or not!),I'm always inspired from you!Keep it up ¨\ddot\smile!

Rohit Udaiwal - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Feel free to look here for a simplified version the theorem's main proof in case you cannot follow the actual paper and only care about the validity of the proof. https://www.academia.edu/s/007215cff8?source=swp

Xuming Liang - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Happy to have such a member here, good luck in the future and develop more theorems :) P.S. We are colleagues, as I do have 2 theorems on ijma.

Penguin Plays - 5 years, 7 months ago

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That's exciting! What does your theorem state?

Calvin Lin Staff - 5 years, 7 months ago

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First one is a formula of the greatest common divisor of 2 numbers, but that has 2 undetermined variables, and I exprimed that 2 undetermined variables using the biggest number, sadly wasn't able to continue, as I didn't see the final formula. This one will be published in the next few days, as it was accepted already. The second one o would prefer to keep in secret right now, but it's about primes, and belive me, they aren't random :)

Penguin Plays - 5 years, 7 months ago

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@Penguin Plays Your last line made me madly curious!

Swapnil Das - 5 years, 7 months ago

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Congratulations for being featured.

Shivam Jadhav - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Wazzap @Xuming Liang aka Xumilez.Good to see you featured finally xD. Still making music bro ?

Athiyaman Nallathambi - 5 years, 8 months ago

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Very impressive

michael bye - 5 years, 8 months ago

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[Xuming Liang , Well first of all congrats for being featured , and your problems are Wonderful ... Can you create a wiki page about your paper ?

A Former Brilliant Member - 5 years, 8 months ago

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@Xuming Liang Congratulations on being Featured!

So now We can hope to see another Asian (and Brilliantian) in the USA Team! Good Luck!

Sualeh Asif - 5 years, 7 months ago

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@Xuming Liang, why don't you make a wiki on the Liang-Zelich theorem?

A Former Brilliant Member - 3 years, 5 months ago

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Xuming Liang, Congrats for being featured. Also, best of luck for achieving in future.

Anish Harsha - 5 years, 8 months ago

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