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Greek Students Sweep Medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad

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Greece’s team at the International Mathematical Olympiad excelled winning five medals. Credit: IMO

Six high school students from Greece excelled at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) that took place recently in Oslo, Norway winning five medals, namely two silver and three bronze medals.

The annual competition brings together the brightest mathematical brains from around the world chosen by national education authorities. The selection of the Greek participants is made through the annual competitions of the Hellenic Mathematical Society.

“For these students, mathematical problems are one of the most enjoyable aspects of everyday life,” said Panagiotis Pavlos, the head of the Greek delegation.

The students that comprised the Greek delegation to IMO were:

Prodromos Fotiadis from Drama: Silver medal

Panagiotis Liambas from Thessaloniki: Silver medal

Orestis Lignos from Athens: Bronze medal

Emmanuel Petrakis from Agrinio: Bronze medal

Georgios Tzachristas from Ioannina: Bronze medal

Konstantinos Konstantinidis from Thessaloniki: Honorable mention

“The preparation students do for the Mathematical Olympiad is special…because subjects are largely not taught in school,” said Silouanos Brazitikos, deputy leader of the mission, and assistant professor at the University of Crete.

Students from Greece have a great record at the International Mathematical Olympiad

Greece has a great record in international mathematical competitions. In 2019, three Greek university students swept the medals, winning one gold and two silver medals.

In 2018, at the 25th student competition IMC (International Mathematics Competition), George Kotsovolis, a student studying at the Mathematics Department of the University of Athens, won a gold medal.

It is widely accepted that during ancient times, Greeks played an important role in the development of mathematics.

Although most modern-day Greek mathematicians are not as famous as Pythagoras, Archimedes, or Euclid, their contribution to mathematics is still significant.

The International Mathematical Olympiad is one of the most prestigious mathematical competitions in the world. In January 2011, Google sponsored the International Mathematical Olympiad organization with a contribution of €1 million.

The content of the competition at IMO ranges from extremely difficult algebra and pre-calculus problems to problems on branches of mathematics not traditionally covered in secondary or high school and often not at the university level either, such as projective and complex geometry, functional equations, combinatorics, and well-grounded number theory of which extensive knowledge of theorems is required.

Calculus, though allowed in solutions, is never required, as there is a principle that anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics should understand the problems even if the solutions require a great deal more knowledge.

Supporters of this principle claim that this allows more universality and creates an incentive to find elegant, deceptively simple-looking problems which nevertheless require a certain level of ingenuity, oftentimes a great deal of ingenuity, to net all points for a given IMO problem.

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