UP student wins the first ever South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad

Posted on October 12, 2012

The olympiad was written on Saturday, 6 October by a total of 151 undergraduate students from universities across the country.  In total four students from the University of Pretoria were ranked in the top 25 achievers nationally, which places the University of Pretoria third in terms of the number of students who are ranked in the top 25 achievers.  The other three top achievers from Tukkies are Anton Vlasov, a second year BSc in Actuarial and Financial Mathematics student, Theo Ferreira, a first year BSc in Actuarial and Financial Mathematics student, and Tinaye Muzanya, who is a final year BSc in Actuarial and Financial Mathematics student. Henry Thackeray’s achievement is especially remarkable.  With a score of 90%, Henry beat the others by far, the closest score country wide being 65%.

Mathematics olympiads consist of questions which test mathematical problem solving skills and usually require ingenuity more than knowledge to solve. The paper consisted of twenty questions for which students had ninety minutes to answer.  Some examples of the type of question found in mathematics olympiads are the following:
  • Six political leaders must have their photographs taken sitting in a row.  Helen and Patricia insist on sitting next to each other.  Jacob and Julius refuse to sit next to each other.  Tokyo and Trevor don't mind where they sit.  In how many ways can they be seated?
  • A clock's minute hand has length 4 and its hour hand length 3.  What is the distance between the tips at the moment when this distance is increasing most rapidly?
UP participants in the 2012 South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad  

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