Two gold medals in Bremen

The Australian team for the 2009 International Mathematical Olympiad did quite well this year, scoring two gold medals, one silver, and two bronze.  Unofficially, the Australian team placed 23rd out of 102 countries.

I myself was at the event, giving a talk at the celebratory event for the 50th anniversary of the Olympiad.

2009 Australian Olympiad teams announced

The Australian mathematics and science Olympiad teams were announced at Parliament House a few weeks ago.  The maths team will train with the British team at Trinity College Cambridge in the week before IMO and compete for the Mathematics Ashes, which Australia won during the inaugural event in 2008.

(Thanks to Peter Taylor for the news).

Math skills suffer in U.S., study finds

The New York Times today has an article entitled  “Math Skills Suffer in U.S., Study Finds“, based on a study to be published in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.  The study found that mathematically gifted children in the U.S. were not represented as often in mathematics competitions, camps, and similar activities as in other countries, especially when restricting attention to female, native-born, or non-Asian children.  Mathematically talented girls, in particular, appear to be discouraged by social and other pressures from pursuing careers in mathematics.  These results are unfortunately somewhat unsurprising, but the extent to which they are present as documented in the study is rather stark.  The New York Times article also interviewed several mathematically high-achieving young women (e.g. Olympiad medalists) in the U.S., who described some of these pressures in more personal terms.

It seems to me that there are some parallels between the U.S. experience and that in Australia nowadays; see for instance the remarks in the New York Times article on how sports achievement among youth is given far higher visibility than science or mathematical achievement.

AMC and IOI results

The Australian Mathematics Trust has just announced the results of this year’s Australian Mathematics Competition, as well as the results of the Australian team in this year’s Informatics Olympiad, where the Aussie team picked up a gold, two silvers, and a bronze, their best showing to date there.  Congratulations to all participants for their efforts!

[Thanks to Peter Taylor for the news.]

Australian 2008 IMO results

The Australian Mathematics Trust reports that Australian IMO team has just won 5 silver medals and one bronze medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Madrid, with a country ranking of 19th out of 97; this is Australia’s best showing in a few years.  Congrats to the Aussie team for their efforts (and for the Ashes victory!).

[The Olympiad problems can, of course, be downloaded from the official IMO site.]

(Thanks to Peter Taylor for the news.)

2008 Mathematics Ashes won by Australia

The Australian Mathematics Trust reports that the inaugural Mathematics Ashes has been won by the Australian IMO team.  (Thanks to Peter Taylor for the news.)

7:30 report on Tuesday

I’ve just been informed by Peter Taylor from the AMT that there should be a piece airing in tonight’s Tuesday’s 7:30 report on the Australian IMO team that is flying out to Lisbon today.  The transcript (and video) is now available here.

One of the members of that team, Max Menzies (who was also on last year’s team) was also interviewed this morning on Adam Spencer’s ABC Radio breakfast show; a transcript (courtesy of Peter) can be found here.

[Update, July 7: the 7:30 report item has been moved back from Monday to Tuesday.  Sorry!]

[Update, July 8: A transcript of the 7:30 report item is now available.]

Mathematics Ashes

The Australian and UK mathematics trusts have set up a “Mathematics Ashes“, in analogy with the well-known cricketing counterpart, for the Australian and British IMO teams to compete for each year, as part of their planned joint training sessions, thus injecting the traditional Aussie values of sport and rivalry with the Poms into the competition. The scripts of the losing team are to be burned, with the ashes sealed into the urn that is retained by the winning team.

The Australian Mathematics Trust has also announced this weekend that its BH Neumann award will be awarded this year to Ben Burton, the third Australian to win a gold medal at the IMO, and now director of training for the IOI, and also a researcher in the finance industry. Congratulations to Ben!

(Thanks to Peter Taylor for the news.)

Australian Olympiad Teams 2008

The Australian teams for the 2008 International Olympiads in Informatics (IOI) and in Mathematics (IMO), which will be held in August in Cairo, Egypt and in July in Madrid, Spain respectively, were formally announced on Thursday at Parliament House in Canberra.

Some statistics for Australia’s IMO performance over the years – it started competing in 1981 – can be found here. I myself competed in 1986-1988, and my two brothers competed in 1994 and 1995; it was a lot of fun for all of us. (A full register of former Australian IMO participants can be found here.) Of course, mathematical competitions are a rather different game from the more “serious” business of research mathematics (and are neither necessary nor sufficient to do well in the latter), but they still offer valuable mathematical training, cultural and travel experience, and of course a good bit of sport. Best of luck to the Aussie teams!

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