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Raman Arora, a dedicated high school student at Dublin High School in California, has released two books, "A Guide to the World of Geometry" and "A Guide to the World of Trigonometry." These exceptional books have reached a global audience, with over 1000 copies sold worldwide. Fuelled by a deep passion for mathematics and computer science, Raman is on a noble mission to provide students with accessible resources that simplify complex mathematical concepts.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It was during pandemic when I was in 8th grade when I got inspired to write my first book.
Due to remote learning, the class format was flipped where we were given videos to self-learn the content followed by assignments. Being an independent and fast-paced learner, I quickly adopted and thrived with this style of learning. However, the experience was not the same for many other students. It was during this time when I noticed several students, particularly those who were underserved, struggling with grasping the core concepts in math. Over a period of time, this resulted in a significant learning loss. I was driven to do something about it and decided to create my own learning material that unraveled complex concepts into accessible explanations and served as a quality supplemental resource to help students in the community who needed them the most.
What kind of impact would you like to create with your books?
My goal with writing books is to inspire in students a love for math by providing them with resources that explain mathematical concepts in an easy to understand manner. I strongly believe that access to quality educational resources can have a significant impact on one’s academic success, and mathematics is an essential subject to learn. I am doing my part in promoting this cause. I plan on using the money earned through my book sales to donate my books to organizations and libraries that serve underrepresented students throughout our community.
Do you recall how your interest in math originated?
I started developing a strong passion in math when I was in middle school and was preparing for placement exams to advance in math. While self-studying various concepts, I started delving deeper into the subject and my curiosity in math continued to grow each day.
In my free time over the weekends, I started enjoying working on proving various theorems found in the textbooks I had then and even learning calculus at some point during 7th grade. Then when I was taking precalculus in 9th grade, I used to be surrounded by so many of my peers in class. At the end of my first semester, I became known throughout high school for getting the highest score in precalculus. This was the moment when I realized that I had a true passion for everything math.
Who is your favorite mathematician or influencer and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I find YouTube as a great tool for learning math since there are many people with amazing educational background who are also great at teaching. My favorite influencer is Eddie Woo, an Australian math teacher who created WooTube, since he sparked a deep curiosity inside me to learn and teach various math concepts using methods that deviated significantly from the traditional styles of teaching. I am also a huge fan of engineers like Mark Rober who have created phenomenal contraptions by consistently applying mathematical principles to their everyday lives.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
The content for my book was all inside my head, so that part came easy to me. A few challenges I ran into were around:
· Quickly learning and adapting to new software tools
For my first book on Geometry, I had to quickly learn graphic designing tools in order to create various geometric diagrams. Since the learning curve was steep, initially it took me hours to draw each graph. Then as I was getting started with my book on Trigonometry, it was time to transition to a new software to make the authoring process more efficient. Although it was fun to learn new tools, it took me a longer to complete my books.
· Coming up with practice problems and answer key
My drive to come up with practice problems that were not only original and unique, but also rigorous and comprehensive, covering all concepts that were covered in each unit and challenging the readers’ analytical and mathematical skills, made it quite a time-consuming process. When it came time to put the answer key together for all the problems, for some reason, I waited till the very end of my book. As a result, I ended up solving over 200 problems over a couple of nights which was quite an overwhelming experience.
· Missing to take regular backups
When I was nearing the end of completing writing for my Geometry book, my laptop suddenly crashed and although my work seemed to be saved, the file got corrupted. Searching for the backup copy, I realized that the last backup was a month or two old as I had forgotten to update it along the way. I remember breaking down into tears that day and feeling very sad. Thanks to my father who encouraged me to persevere and complete the book. I somehow pushed my way through by taking content from older files and rewriting the entire book. Surprisingly, the process was not as tedious as I thought and I was able to complete my book much faster than expected. This taught me that with perseverance one can always find a way to turn things around.
How do you think being a writer has helped you as a person?
Being a writer of a math book series has provided me with greater clarity of thought as well as improved my communication skills. Writing has encouraged me to think how I can explain difficult concepts to other students in an easy to understand manner. In the process of writing these books, I was able to clarify my own thinking and also get more deeply engrossed into several math topics. It also helped me become a better communicator as I’m now able to articulate my thoughts much more effectively.
Being a writer has also allowed me to get better at teaching and mentoring other fellow students both in and out of the classroom and thereby become more connected with my fellow students in the community.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Approach the math series books with a positive mindset and enjoy the learning.
Believe in yourself and you will grasp the content much more easily because you are prepared and eager to learn. I know so many students who approach math saying it is a difficult subject, but reinforcing those thoughts makes the subject even harder. Remember that it’s all in your mind. If you approach the subject with a ‘can do’ attitude and be open to looking at math as your friend and are ready to persevere, you will definitely make great improvement and may also discover the same passion as me!
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