Tamar Barabi's mathematical discovery happened by accident. Tamar Barabi's mathematical discovery happened by accident. Tamar Barabi's mathematical discovery happened by accident. (Photo: Courtesy photo/Marina Sun / Shutterstock)

16-year-old invents new math theory — and doesn't even earn an 'A'

She isn't worried, though. Her dream is to conquer the music industry instead.

It's common for some high school kids to need the help of a math tutor. For others, numbers come naturally. And then there's Tamar Barabi. The Israeli teenager just invented a new geometric theorem.

Like most discoveries, the eureka moment happened by accident. Tamar turned in her math homework and the teacher said the theory she used to solve the problem didn't actually exist. "He said if I could prove it, it could be my theory. So that's what happened," Barabi told From The Grapevine.

With help from her dad, who is also a math teacher, they sent the theorem to experts around the world.

Tamar Barabi lives in an Israeli town just miles from the Mediterranean coast.Tamar Barabi lives in an Israeli town just miles from the Mediterranean coast. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Known as the Three Radii Theorem, or "Tamar's Theory" for short, it goes as follows: "If three or more equal lines leave a single point and reach the boundary of a circle, the point is the center of the circle and the lines are its radii." Believe it or not, that's the simple explanation. To compose the actual theorem, Barabi had to write up three proofs, a series of conclusions and some sample exercises.

"Tamar deserves praise for finding a new twist of stating that a circle has only one center and only one radius," Professor Ron Livne, who teaches at the Einstein School of Mathematics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told From The Grapevine.

Added Ofer Grossman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "It's cool to see how Tamar's theorem can give elegant proofs for other important theorems."

Whiz kids seem to be growing on trees in Barabi's neck of the woods. She follows in the footsteps of fellow Israeli teen Ronni Oron, who recently won praise by NASA for inventing a tool for producing oxygen in outer space.

After school, Tamar Barabi takes dance lessons several days a week.After school, Tamar Barabi takes dance lessons several days a week. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

When she's not coming up with new math theorems, Barabi spends most her time after school taking ballet lessons. She also plays the guitar and piano. When asked if she liked Justin Bieber, Barabi, who hails from the same town as supermodel Bar Refaeli, just laughed. Embodying someone clearly wise beyond her years, she cites Simon & Garfunkel and Suzanne Vega as musical influences.

"I know it's kind of cliché, but I want to be an actor and a dancer," she told us. In the video below, you can watch Barabi perform a cover of "This is the Life" by Scottish singer Amy MacDonald.

And here she is singing the theme to James Bond's "Skyfall."

For now, the teenager is enjoying the quasi-fame this new theory has afforded her. "It's funny all the buzz that's happened because of it."

So did her math teacher give her an A+ for her discovery? "No," Barabi explained. "I learn in a democratic school where we don't get grades."

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