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Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

Dr. Lan co-writes his first book

Dr. Lan co-writes his first book
Yaas Khoramshahi 24

Calabasas High School AP math teacher Dr. Lan has written his first book, An Exploration of Challenging AMC 10 Problems. The book is a palatial and in-depth guide to solving equations, but Dr. Lan did not write it alone. His co-author, Tiger Zhang, is a junior in high school and was only in the eighth grade when he decided to become an author. 

Zhang fell in love with math at a very young age. During his childhood, his favorite toys were logic games. He enjoyed spending hours solving puzzles and creating his own levels.  When in 2nd grade, Zhang joined the UCLA Math Circle, his first and only math community for many years. He is now a competitor in many math competitions, including AMC and AIME. 

Dr. Lan was born in Shanghai, China, and became interested in mathematics in elementary school. He competed in district, city, national and international level competitions and eventually entered the Department of Mathematics at Peking University. After earning a double Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and physics, Lan received his Master’s and PhD degrees from UCLA. He has coached, tutored, and taught many students since then.

When it was decided that they would be writing a book, neither Zhang nor Dr. Lan expected it to take more than a few weeks. Months, at most. They began the process during June of 2021, and were able to publish over two years later. 

“It was during covid, so most of our discussions took place over zoom or phone calls. I do think that slowed the process,” said Zhang.

Another struggle the pair faced was translating all of their work. To create a math book written in English was not easy. And this was not just any math book, but a self-study breakdown of sample problems to prepare for the AMC10. 

“When I can’t figure something out, I leave it alone for a while. I come back with a refreshed mind and try again,” said Zhang. “I enjoy every moment as it comes.” 

Aside from math, Zhang also has many other subjects that require his focus. 

“There have been times when I didn’t know how to balance all of my schoolwork as well as piano. I needed to manage my time,” said Zhang.

Dr. Lan met Zhang when he was in the fifth grade and instantly knew how much potential Zhang had. 

“It’s like I saw a light shining through his eyes. He confidently solved a very difficult equation, and I knew how special he was,” Lan said. 

Lan encourages all his students to try to reach more than they believe they are capable of. “Everyone has a Tiger in them. Maybe in math. Maybe not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that each person has their own potential to reach greatness,” said Lan.

Zhang hopes to pursue the field of combinatorics, and Dr. Lan sees himself writing more books and self-study sets in the near future, possibly with other students just like Tiger Zhang.

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Yaas Khoramshahi 24, Staff Writer
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