Counting on her mind
1,248 words 24 May 2005 Digital Life English (c) 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
You can reach for the stars with Jaws, Braille and determination, mathematics whiz Yeo Sze Ling tells HELLEN TAN
Given that multiple degrees are common today, the fact that Miss Yeo Sze Ling has two degrees in mathematics, and is working on her doctorate in the same field, is probably not news.
Until you find out that she is blind.
The 27-year-old who earned her Bachelor’s degree (Honours) and a Master’s degree from National University of Singapore (NUS) is now into research on coding mathematics theories and cryptography.
These are used in computing algorithms to protect passwords or data from being stolen when they are zipped from computer to computer.
The field is an interest she shares with John Nash Jr, a mathematical genius who won a Nobel Prize, portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie, A Beautiful Mind.
Certainly, like Nash, her achievements should mean a lot.
He was a schizophrenic who thought he was doing secret cryptography work for the American government.
She has been blind from the age of about four when glaucoma struck. Glaucoma is a condition that increases pressure within the eyeball causing sight loss.
Technology has come in handy.
On campus, she totes a laptop.
At home in a four-room HDB flat in Bishan, her desktop Compaq PC holds today’s tech staples – e-mail and MSN Messenger for exchanging notes with friends.
The Internet is her source for research as well as for online newspapers or electronic books like A Beautiful Mind.