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Chapter 9: Did I Even Study At University…
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The consultation room did not even have a single empty seat.
The third-year students preparing for graduate entrance exams were all focused on studying.
Next to the lectern, sat the professor of University of Jin Ling’s mathematics department, Tang Zhiwei. He put the newspaper in his hand down and started to meticulously look at the question on the draft paper. His right hand flipped the pen cover repet.i.tively.
Lu Zhou stood next to him. He clearly understood that this little gesture meant that he was in his deep thinking mode.
“Where did you get this question?” asked Tang Zhiwei suddenly after staring at the draft paper for a long time.
“The textbook mentioned the Fourier series, so I went to the library to find related materials. I found variants of the Fourier inversion theorem and a few applications for the variants. I tried to derive them and was stuck on this one step,” said Lu Zhou with an apologetic smile. His facial expression was full of gratefulness.
Tang Zhiwei looked at Lu Zhou for a second before looking back at the draft paper. He put the pen cover down and picked up a piece of chalk. He walked next to the blackboard and paused for a second. His then reached out and started to draft the question on the blackboard.
Lu Zhou looked at the blackboard with immense focus. Perhaps it was because he had already done his homework on these type of questions, he found himself to be able to keep up with the teacher’s pace.
The noise created by the chalk on the podium attracted the attention of the third-year math students that were studying. Occasionally, they would look up and stare blankly at the formula that was written on the blackboard before looking back down quickly.
What are they writing?
Time pa.s.sed by slowly and without them knowing, the entire blackboard was full.
Tang Zhiwei wrote from the blackboard’s upper left corner all the way to the lower right corner. He stopped writing and looked back at Lu Zhou before asking, “Do you understand this part?”
Lu Zhou looked intently at the blackboard and nodded, “I get it.”
Tang Zhiwei lifted his eyebrows as he asked, “Do you really understand?”
Lu Zhou said, “I really understand it.”
Tang Zhiwei did not say much and started to wipe the blackboard with the eraser. He took the chalk and continued to write on the blackboard. He changed his judgment of Lu Zhou’s character.
He hated two types of students. The students that asked him for extra marks and the fake students that would purposely ask him very difficult questions.
Especially the latter, as it purely wasted his time!
He clearly was uninterested in maths, yet he acted like he was doing research. Disgusting! This type of people only wanted to get close with the teachers. They completely forgot the point of studying.
Tang Zhiwei was writing the finis.h.i.+ng parts and had only a few lines left. He suddenly stopped and looked back at Lu Zhou before asking with a laugh, “I’ll finish writing here. You should be able to understand right?”
Lu Zhou nodded, “I understand… Thanks, Professor!”
Chen Yushan sat at the corner of the front row seats. She was secretly observing the two people on the podium. She heard the back and forth conversation of “Understand?” “Understood.” Her face had a confused expression written on it.
What do you mean understand, understood?
What exactly are these two communicating?
Chen Yushan realized that with her ability, she could never understand their conversation. All of a sudden, she felt hopeless about her own mathematical abilities.
Maybe… I’m actually just a bad student?
Tang Zhiwei heard Lu Zhou’s reply and laughed. He carefully put the chalk back onto the table and sat down. He opened his vacuum flask and drank some tea. He then slowly said, “Do you really understand? Then why don’t you finish writing down the steps.”
Understand? My a.s.s!
When I was writing, you stood there like a dumba.s.s. You didn’t even take notes. If you really understood it, I’ll eat this cup!
Lu Zhou saw Tang Zhiwei’s expression and he suddenly understood. The professor doubted if he actually paid attention. He was testing him!
Lu Zhou did not know whether he should laugh or cry.
Honest to G.o.d! I really understood!
He also did not know why. When Professor Tang was solving on the blackboard, the lines of equations felt so familiar. It was as if he had seen them before, but he could not recall where.
Perhaps it was because he exchanged the system’s general points for knowledge and it subsequently covered this information? Or because his own mathematical experience increased and it increased his intuition towards mathematics?
In short, he actually understood it.
Lu Zhou did not know the exact reason but it was obvious that Professor Tang was not planning on solving this question. Professor Tang looked leisurely at him to perform. He could not screw up his chances of successfully submitting a thesis next semester.
With a confident smile, Lu Zhou walked towards the blackboard with a chalk in his hand.
Professor Tang’s eyebrows rose as he thought that there was no way this little kid could complete the steps.
There’s no way.
Definitely no way!
Even though he already wrote down most of the proof steps, the last few steps of the proof were not something a freshman student could do! Even his master’s students would have to go through the steps multiple times before they could understand it!
But this guy! He didn’t even write notes when he was listening!
Time pa.s.sed by slowly. From the initial state of being amazed, Professor Tang’s feeling soon turned to shock before it finally became a feeling of approval.
All of the doubts that he had was like snow in the spring. It melted as soon as the sun s.h.i.+ned on it.
After Lu Zhou wrote down the last symbol on the blackboard, he looked back at Professor Tang. Professor Tang nodded his head in approval and said, “Not bad… Well written.”
The last few steps were slightly different than his method. It was slightly more c.u.mbersome, but still quite sophisticated. This showed that not only did Lu Zhou understood what he said, but he also incorporated his own thought process into it.
This ability was very precious.
It turned out that he had judged wrong…
“It was still thanks to teacher’s help. If I do this by myself, there’s no way I could solve it until this step…” Lu Zhou apologetically smiled.
He did not lie about this part. The steps the system calculated had a lot “a = b” proofs. It did not really explain exactly why a equaled to b.
He asked Professor Tang for the exact explanation of the proof.
“Don’t need to be humble with me. I can see your skill level,” said Professor Tang. He closed the lid of the vacuum flask and continued to ask, “What cla.s.s are you in?”
“Cla.s.s one. First year. Lu Zhou,” answered Lu Zhou honestly.
“Lu Zhou…” Professor Tang repeated it a couple of times as if he was trying to remember this name.
It turns out that this student is called Lu Zhou…
Chen Yushan sat in the corner. She was secretly listening and nodded. Suddenly, she felt something was wrong and she immediately realized it.
First, first year?!
Chen Yushan blushed as she remembered calling him senior. Her entire body was like an ostrich as she rested her head on the table.
Chen Yushan was not the only person that was shocked. Some of the senior female students who were sitting in the front row also looked at this junior student intensely. Their hearts were racing like a pack of lambs.
How smart are the freshmen these days?
How are we supposed to compete?
“It’s going to be exams soon, right? How’s your revision going?”
“I’m almost done with revising. I just want to study something else,” said Lu Zhou with a forced smile.
“Ah, it’s a bit insulting for someone like you to take that test,” said Tang Zhiwei. With a smile, he asked jokingly, “How about I make a test specifically for you?”
“Please don’t! I’ll die!” Lu Zhou replied jokingly.
“What? How can a test kill you? I don’t believe it,” said Tang Zhiwei. He evaluated Lu Zhou before nodding approvingly and said, “Not bad, not bad at all. I rarely complimented students. If you weren’t in the first year, I would want to talk to the academic office and take you under my wing to do research.”
“Teacher, you spoke too highly of me. I still have a lot to learn. If I actually did research with you, I would drag you down,” replied Lu Zhou. He knew that Professor Tang was joking so he was humble in his reply.
Tang Zhiwei criticized him, “Stop! Don’t give me all that polite stuff. People in academia have to focus on doing academics. Don’t give people that fake politeness.”
Although he had no doubt that he was being criticized, Lu Zhou knew that Professor Tang was not angry. Professor Tang was teaching him like he would his own student.
When this old guy got angry, he would definitely put on a smile. For example, when he was writing on the blackboard earlier and thought that Lu Zhou was pretending to know what was going on, he must have been so angry.
“Teacher, you are right. I understand.”
Seeing Lu Zhou’s sincere expression, Tang Zhiwei relaxed his tone and nodded his head. He continued to say, “It’s good that you have an interest in mathematics. I hope that you can continue to maintain this interest. Also, your selection of the field is good. Even though it isn’t a popular field, it is a field that one can easily succeed in. If you’ve good ideas, don’t be afraid to go for it. If you don’t understand some parts, just read or ask. This is how academia is built. Who knows, you could come up with something no one else has thought of before.”
Professor Tang paused for a moment before continuing, “The mathematics department of the University of Jin Ling isn’t very strong, but our physics department is very good. The Fourier transformation is used in spectrum a.n.a.lysis, data compression and orthogonal frequency division and its applications are quite broad. If you become an expert in this field, I believe that when you are in your fourth year, physics professors from next door would definitely want you.”
Professor Tang laughed and continued, “Study more, read more, practice more, research more. I’ll stop rambling. Go and think through this by yourself. I’ll stop wasting your time.”
“Thank you, professor! I will definitely remember these words that came from the bottom of your heart,” replied Lu Zhou sincerely.
“Don’t give me that fake politeness. Didn’t I just tell you this? Just say thanks, then head off. Do you need me to send you?” laughed Tang Zhiwei.
Lu Zhou smiled. He took the draft paper and pen before walking out of the door. He even closed the door behind him.
Tang Zhiwei looked back at the blackboard and let out a breath. His heart was deeply moved by it.
No wonder Jin Ling is one of the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties and the birthplace of astounding people.
With the University of Jin Ling standing on this dragon’s pulse, it would really produce talented people!
The undergraduate students were muddled. They looked at the dazzling equations on the blackboard. When they looked back at their own exercise book, they felt a sense of inadequacy.
Did I even study at university…