OTTAWA, Ontario -- Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 40th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Bucharest (Romania) from July 10 to 22, 1999.
"The six students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills, comprehension and creativity that is crucial 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 IMO team. "They represent the potential of students across the country and will be excellent mathematics ambassadors for Canada".
The six students -- David Arthur, Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario; Jimmy Chui, Earl Haig Secondary School, North York, Ontario; James Lee, Eric Hamber Secondary School, Vancouver, British Columbia; Yin (Jessie) Lei, Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, Ontario; David Nicholson, Fenelon Falls Secondary School, Ontario; David Pritchard, Woburn Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, Ontario -- were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades seven to 13 (plus CEGEP) who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests. Jimmy Chui (Bronze Medalist) and Jessie Lei (Honourable Mention) were members of the Canadian team to the 1998 IMO in Taipei, Taiwan.
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, which is set by an international jury of mathematicians, will be written on Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17. The contest is comprised of two exams, each consisting of three questions on each day with a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is a mathematical hexathlon and these are our Canadian mathletes," commented Wright.
The team will be accompanied by Team Leader, Dr. Edward Barbeau (University of Toronto) and Deputy Team Leader, Dr. Arthur Baragar, (University of Nevada - Las Vegas), a member of the first Canadian IMO team. The Deputy Leader Observer, Dr. Dorette Pronk (Calvin College, Michigan), will also be a member of the Canadian delegation.
Canada first sent a team to an IMO competition in 1981 (Washington, USA). Since then, Canadian students have done very well receiving a total of nine gold, 22 silver, and 41 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Taipei (Taiwan), the Canadian team placed 20th out of the 76 competing countries and won one gold medal, one silver medal, two bronze medals and an honourable mention.
"These competitions are one way of making mathematics education more relevant, challenging and fun for students," said Dr. Bill Sands, University of Calgary 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 students will be attending a special IMO Training Camp at the University of Waterloo (June 28th to July 12th ). They will leave Toronto for Romania on July 12th and return to Canada on July 22nd.
Sponsors of the 1999 Canadian team include: the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training; the Quebec Ministry of Education; Alberta Education; the Canadian Mathematical Society; the Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning, the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada; Industry Canada; the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences; the Samuel Beatty Fund as well as the the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo; the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa.
Dr. Graham P. Wright
Canadian Mathematical Society
Dr. Bill Sands
Chair - IMO Committee
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Calgary