What is the IMO?

Have you heard of the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)? Come on, not "in my opinion," yes, the competition! The IMO is a high school competition held in a different country every July, and is actually the largest high school contest for students around the entire world.

Each year, around a hundred countries send six of each of their top mathematics students to spend a couple of weeks intensively preparing for and taking two 4.5 hours exams, then relaxing and meeting hundreds of other (equally nerdy) students while their solutions are marked and their placings determined. But just how hard could those questions be? Well, you get three questions (generally no sub-parts) to solve in 4.5 hours, and the majority of the students would be delighted to solve even just one of those questions. We've been there, and it's pretty tough.

From July 3 to July 13, 2014, the 55th IMO will be held in Cape Town, South Africa - yes, it's already begun! The NZ team this year is represented by Prince Michael Balanay, George Han, Peter Huxford, Martin Luk, Vincent Qi and Kevin Shen (with non-travelling reserve Miles Lee), and led by Chris Tuffley and Malcolm Granville with team manager May Meng.

Here are their profiles on the official IMO website, and here is the site for IMO 2014. Keep yourself up to date with regular updates on our blog when the IMO gets under way!