Date
21 July 2018
Going places: March Tian Boedihardjo, when he became a university student at nine (inset, left) and when he was 13 years old. He is now an associate professor at UCLA. Photos: UCLA, CNSA, Baidu
Going places: March Tian Boedihardjo, when he became a university student at nine (inset, left) and when he was 13 years old. He is now an associate professor at UCLA. Photos: UCLA, CNSA, Baidu

HK-born maths prodigy named UCLA professor at 18

A Hong Kong-born Indonesian Chinese who became the city’s youngest university student at the age of nine is now an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

March Tian Boedihardjo, 18, took up a three-year guest teaching role at the prestigious US university, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Boedihardjo moved to the United States in 2011 after obtaining Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Science and Master of Philosophy in Mathematics degrees at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) which he completed in four years, or one year early.

The mathematics prodigy made headlines in 2007 when he was admitted to HKBU at the age of nine.  

He had obtained an A in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics and a B in Statistics in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-levels in the United Kingdom. The entrance exams are usually taken by students aged 17 or above.

Boedihardjo’s elder brother Horatio was also a child prodigy, after being admitted to the Oxford University’s Mathematics Institute at the age of 14.

The two boys’ father was also twice advanced to a higher grade during his primary school studies.

In a recent email reply to hk01.com, Boedihardjo said he is enjoying life in the US, adding that he found the cities of Los Angeles and Houston equally likeable.

Boedihardjo said he still derives pleasure from studying mathematics and teaching classes of 30 to 40 students, adding that he does not like giving lectures to larger classes, such as those with 200 students, which is rather common at the UCLA.

When asked if he feels accomplished after having realized his childhood dream of becoming a university lecturer, Boedihardjo said: “I would say partially yes but not yet really a yes.”

He said he still has no idea what he will do or if he will return to Hong Kong when his three-year contract ends.

Boedihardjo said when he was 13 that he never liked to be referred to as a prodigy because it seemed to suggest that he had not worked hard.

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