CHIKA OFILI: The 12-Year-Old Boy Who Created the Divisibility by 7 Maths Formula


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Africans across time and space have made significant contributions to the world of science, technology, engineering and math.  

Today, the story is not any different.  One of such Africans is young Chika Ofili, a Nigerian-born math whiz.  Chika Ofili is the young mathematician credited with the discovery of the formula to determine divisibility by 7.

In November 2019, Chika received the Academic Hero Award at the TruLittle Hero Awards for his contribution to the world of mathematics at the tender age of 12.

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Based in the UK with his parents, Chika discovered the formula during the completion of a holiday assignment.  His mathematics teacher, Miss Mary Ellis, gave him a book called “First Steps for Problem Solvers” to study during the school holidays.  The book contained several divisibility tests for numbers by 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or 9. Chika soon came to realize that the book did not contain any easy or memorable tests for figuring out divisibility by 7.

Chika then  devised his own way to deal with this hurdle. His formula involves taking the last digit of any whole number, multiplying it by 5 and then adding it to the remaining part of the number to get a new number. If this new number is divisible by 7, then the original number is divisible by 7.

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When school resumed, Chika demonstrated his new discovery to the entire faculty of Westminister Under School where he attended. His mathematics teacher, Miss Ellis, is reported to have brought in a neutral mathematics specialist to test Chika’s theory. After extensive testing, the theory was confirmed to be effective, providing a solution to a longstanding mathematical problem for learners.

His school reached out to mathematics journals and concerned parties and Chika received the recognition that he deserves. Today, Chika is considered a mathematician by some.


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