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COMMUNIQUÉ
May 23, 1997

SIX STUDENTS SELECTED TO REPRESENT CANADA AT THE 1997 INTERNATIONAL MATHEMATICAL OLYMPIAD IN ARGENTINA

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 38th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Mar del Plata (Argentina) from July 18 to 31, 1997.

The six students -- Adrian Birka, Niagara Falls, Ontario; Sabin Cautis, North York, Ontario; Adrian Chan, North York, Ontario; Jimmy Chui, Don Mills, Ontario; Byung-Kyu Chun, Edmonton, Alberta; Mihaela Enchescu, Côte St. Luc, Quebec -- were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades seven to 12 who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests. Sabin Cautis, Adrian Chan and Byung-Kyu Chun were members of the Canadian team to the 1996 IMO in Mumbai (India) and each was awarded a bronze medal.

"These six students have demonstrated the problem solving skills, comprehension and creativity that is so essential to compete against the very best at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's annual IMO team. "They reflect the potential of students across Canada and will be excellent mathematics ambassadors for our country."

The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, will be pitting their skills against more than 450 of the world's best students. The IMO competition paper is set by an international jury of mathematicians and will be written on Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25. The contest is comprised of two exams, each consisting of three questions and having a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is a mathematical hexathalon," commented Graham Wright.

The team will be accompanied by Team Leader, Dr. Richard J. Nowakowski (Dalhousie University); and Deputy Team Leader, Mr. Naoki Sato, a former two-time Canadian IMO medalist (silver in Turkey in 1993 and bronze in Moscow in 1992) who is completing his B.Sc. in Mathematics at the University of Toronto.

Canada first sent a team to an IMO competition in 1981. Since then, Canadian students have done very well receiving a total of eight gold, 19 silver, and 37 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Mumbai (India), the Canadian team placed 16th out of the 75 competing countries and, for the first time, all members of the Canadian team earned medals (three silver and three bronze).

"These competitions are one way of making mathematics education more relevant, challenging and fun for students," said Dr. Richard Nowakowski, Dalhousie University and Chair of the CMS IMO Committee. "They provide Canadians with the opportunity to measure their abilities against the best in the world."

The six members of the 1997 Canadian IMO team, as well as two potential students for the 1998 IMO - David Pritchard, Scarborough, Ontario and Yang Shen, St. Laurent, Quebec, will be at Saint Mary's University, Halifax (July 6th to the 19th) to take part in an IMO Training Camp. The team will be leaving Toronto for Argentina on July 20th.

Sponsors of the 1997 Canadian team include: the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, the Quebec Ministry of Education, Alberta Education, the Canadian Mathematical Society, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd., the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Pratt and Whitney Canada, the Samuel Beatty Fund, the McLean Foundation as well as Saint Mary's University, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo, the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing Science, Dalhousie University and the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Canadian Mathematical Society
(613) 562-5702

or

Dr. Richard Nowakowski
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing Science
Dalhousie University
(902) 494-2475


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