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January 29, 2007

Math Course Fatal to Penn State Sophomore

Left: A sample of the lethal linear first-order differential equations

(State College, PA) Penn State sophomore Grant Bradley passed away due to complications from the advanced mathematics course Differential Equations on January 28. He was 19.

Friends and family will gather to remember Bradley's life at a memorial service on Jan. 31, and an on-campus vigil is still being planned for the PSU community to gather in remembering the would-be engineer.

Bradley, who grew up with mathematical disabilities that put him at a disadvantage with other students, was not expected to progress past high school geometry, according to his mother, Judy Bradley.

"Boy, he sure did show the doubters a thing or two," she said. "Bradley never wanted to be treated as the 'LD student' or the 'math retard.' He was lucky to have friends that didn't see him as any different than themselves. But when he tried to do those differential equations, his brain just quit."

Left: A tutor tries for the umpteenth time to get it through Bradley's thick skull that it is impossible to directly find the slope of the tangent line to a given function

Bradley's roommate, Penn State sophomore Lee Byung, said he greatly admired the struggling math student.

"He never whined about his mathematics handicap, and instead looked toward everything with a positive outlook," Byung said. "Everyone who took the time to know him will tell you that Bradley had an aura of serenity, despite a complete inability to grasp symmetries and invariants, especially when the derivative of the unknown function at a certain time is given in terms of the values of the function at previous times."

Another roommate, Penn State sophomore J.D. Blanchard, echoed Byung's description of Bradley.

"Grant was an awesome individual, and I think we can all learn something from his life," Hicks said. "He always remained remarkably determined and optimistic about life, despite being a total spazz at math. I think that is very commendable because most of us would not be able to handle half of the adversity that Grant dealt with in his everyday life, especially using the Fokker-Planck equation to determine the time evolution of the probability density function of position and velocity of a particle. Grant really sucked at that, the dumb bastard."

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That's so sad. We all could learn a lesson from Grant Bradley.
Grant's an inspiration to us all, even retards.
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