Facility with calculus, specifically integration and differentiation, is mandatory for just about any technical discipline. Slog the first is setting up the problem, Slog the second is hacking through whatever differential equations and/or integrals present themselves. For those of us of a certain age, getting to calculus in high school was a badge of honor and being able to evaluate difficult integrals through clever substitutions and grit a point of pride.
Time has passed and the standards have gone up. Way way up. The kids these days are learning more, learning it earlier, and are scaling peaks we didn’t know existed. The mathematics subculture on the Internet is fueling this fire and a particular segment of Youtube is devoted to these calculations both for fun and for education. MIT has even held an “Integration Bee” for many years where students go head-to-head under time pressure.
Leading this pack is Jens Fehlau, an early twenty-something bro from Germany whose skills and presentation style make us glad we aren’t in a class where he’s ruining the curve. His Flammable (formerly Fappable) Maths channel has a strong following with early videos in German and more recent ones in excellent English with calming sounds of chalk on a chalkboard. Fehlau also reminds me of a college classmate of mine who did exactly that and is now an eminent professor of chemistry.
Here’s one of his playlists. Fair warning – the language can get salty at times.
Youtube Channel: Flammable Maths
So, is he a wunderkind, discovered young and educated for future Math Olympiads and a Fields Medal? Nope. He’s trained as a baker and hopes to teach school.