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Jewish whiz kid catches math ‘mistake’ at Boston museum

Math-kidJoseph Rosenfeld, left, and his brother, Adam, visiting the Fox & Friends studio in Washington, D.C., July 9, 2015. (Scott Rosenfeld)

BOSTON — Joseph Rosenfeld, a 15-year-old Jewish math enthusiast from Virginia, has the media abuzz about the golden ratio, after questioning the accuracy of a display at the Museum of Science in Boston.

Rosenfeld, a sophomore at Handley High School in Winchester, Virginia, is suddenly in the media spotlight, with coverage from the Boston Globe, Britain’s Daily Mail and Fox & Friends, where he was interviewed Wednesday.

He’s taking the unexpected media attention in stride. “I’m surprised. I didn’t think anyone would be this interested in math,” he told JTA Wednesday in a phone conversation that also included his father, Scott Rosenfeld.

The museum, which originally agreed with Rosenfeld, has since changed its view but is taking advantage of all the attention to math.

Rosenfeld has been invited back for a special visit to the new “Science of Pixar” exhibit, he told JTA.

On his annual visit to the museum last month, Rosenfeld noticed minus signs in the museum’s formula for the golden ratio in the “Mathematica” exhibit, developed in 1981 by designers Charles and Ray Eames.

The moment recalls the dramatic scene in “Good Will Hunting” in which an MIT janitor, played by Matt Damon, solves an extremely difficult math equation written on a whiteboard at the university.

Math-kid-photo-350x231Joseph Rosenfeld noticed that at the Museum of Science in Boston, the golden rule is written with minus rather than plus signs and snapped a photo, above, June 4, 2015. (Scott Rosenfeld)


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