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Math genius honored by Australia

One of the youngest students ever, a local grade 11 boy was awarded the Australian Mathematics Competition Medal last week by the Australian ambassador.

“The Australian mathematics award was introduced in 1978 and continues to be the major mathematics school enrichment event in the region,” said Australian Ambassador Sam Gerovich.

Ryoo Sang-woo from Chungbuk Science High School is the second student from Korea to have won the medal.

Of the 500,000 participants in the competition, only 65 students met the demanding standards required to win a competition medal. 
Australia Ambassador Sam Gerovich decorates Chungbuk Science High School student Ryoo Sang-woo. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Australia Ambassador Sam Gerovich decorates Chungbuk Science High School student Ryoo Sang-woo. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

The competition tests everything from basic numeracy skills through to advance problem solving.

The 33rd Australian Mathematics Competition was held in August last year.

Students from 40 countries participated in the exam in either English, French or Chinese.

Ryoo opted to conduct the exam in English “which underlines his outstanding mathematical skills and also underlines that he has a high standard of English,” said Gerovich.

The Australian Mathematics Competition is organized for students from year 3 up to year 12 in Australia and their equivalent grades in other countries.

Since its inception, the participation numbers have increased to over half a million, with around 100,000 being from outside Australia, making it the world’s largest mathematics competition.

“He did it at a time before entering high school, one of the youngest people to take the examination, so that is an extra credit,” he said.

Gerovich pointed out that the Fields Medal, a separate award given by the International Mathematical Union, was awarded to Australia’s Terence Tao in 2006. The Fields Medal is often described as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics” for the prestige it carries and is only awarded every four years.

The next Fields Medal award ceremony will be held in Seoul in 2014.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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