Dylan Nelson and Lourens van Niekerk have recently been named South Africa's top young mathematicians at an awards evening held at the Protea Hotel in Hilton, Pietermaritzburg.
The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF), which acts as the national office for mathematics in the country, co-ordinates a number of Mathematics Olympiad programmes for both learners and teachers throughout the year. Of these the South African Mathematical Olympiad (SAMO) is the largest Olympiad of its kind in South Africa.
Nelson, who is a Grade 12 learner at Benoni High School (Gauteng), is honoured with receiving the Gold medal in the senior division of the Olympiad. "Because it is the last year I was able to take part in the SAMO, I am really happy that I ended my mathematics Olympiad journey on such a high note." He has been taking part in mathematics Olympiads for the majority of his school career and was also a member of the South African team that competed at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Argentina earlier this year.
A Grade 9 learner at Hoërskool Diamantveld in Kimberley (Northern Cape), Van Niekerk is thrilled at receiving the Gold medal in the junior division of the Olympiad. "Having reached this point in my Olympiad journey is the reward of hard work and dedication. I believe that through the act of doing one gains valuable experience and because I see myself as an analytical thinker who happens to love mathematics, I have faith in my ability to come out top in the senior division one day."Delighted by the overall results
Professor Nic Heideman, chairman of the SAMO Committee, is delighted by the overall results from this year's participants. "South Africa has world-class mathematicians and participants have proven this by achieving excellent results at the IMO as well as getting overall second place at this year's Pan African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO)."
Addressing the audience on the importance of the SAMO to determine academic success at tertiary level, Professor Poobhalan Pillay, Emeritus Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) said in his opening address that, to be identified as a top tenner, from a starting field over 60 000 learners, who themselves were selected by their schools on merit, is no mean achievement.
"In many ways the proofs in mathematics are works of art, invoking precise mathematical language, fine logic and calculations to verify hypotheses. Mathematics, music, poetry and fine art have much in common; they are all aesthetic. When viewed from this perspective, the subject is often dubbed as the Queen of all Sciences. On the other hand, she is also a handmaid to a number of disciplines, providing the tools required to address problems that occur from time to time."
Other noteworthy awards were that of the best previously disadvantaged school, which went to Capricorn High School, Polokwane and the best performing school, which was awarded to Star College, Durban. Alwyn Olivier, president of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA), presented the headmasters with a trophy.
Prof Johann Engelbrecht, Executive Director at the SAMF, congratulated the medallists present and also those who participated in the SAMO and other Mathematics Olympiad Programmes, such as the SAMO Training Programme, South African Interprovincial Mathematical Olympiad (SAIPMO), as well as the International and Pan African Mathematical Olympiads (IMO and PAMO).2012's medallists for the SAMO are:
- Dhaneshwar Dalian Sunder: Grade 12,Star College
- Lloyd Mahadeo: Grade 11,Star College
- Martin Rencken: Grade 12,Wartburg Kirchdorf High School
- Mickey Chew: Grade 12,Elkanah House High School
- Nashlen Govindasamy: Grade 10,Star College
- Nicholas Cheng: Grade 12,Fairmont High School
- Robert Spencer: Grade 12,Westerford High School
- Robin Visser: Grade 10,St George's Grammar School
- Shaylan Lalloo: Grade 11,Pearson High School
A number of other awards were also received. They were:
- David Wright: Grade 8, St Stithians Boys' College
- Louis Schoonwinkel: Grade 9,Grey College
- Michael Thompson: Grade 9,Bishops Diocesan College
- Nic Kroon: Grade 8, St Andrew's College
- Roger Song: Grade 9, Reddam House Bedfordview
- Sam Jeffery: Grade 9, Bishops Diocesan College
- Simon Maenaut: Grade 9, Crawford College (Pretoria)
- Soo Min Lee: Grade 9,Bishops Diocesan College
- Tae Jun Park: Grade 9,Rondebosch Boys' High School
- Ulrik de Muelenaere: Grade 9,Hoërskool Waterkloof
- Best previously disadvantaged school - Capricorn High School, Polokwane
- Best performing Dinaledi school - Glenwood High School, Durban
- Best performing school - Star College, Durban
- Top participating school - Bishops Diocesan College, Cape Town
- Best learner outside South Africa: Oliver von Seydlitz - Deutsche Höhere Privat Schule, Namibia (Junior); Tim Ratigan - American International School of Mozambique (Senior)
- Best Dinaledi learner: T Hardman - Glenwood High School (Junior); George Varughese - Fields College (Senior)
- Best performing African learner: A Qampi - Star College (Junior); Noko Rammutla - Capricorn High School (Senior)
The SAMO is open to learners between grades 8 and 12.Learners who wish to enter the competition should approach their maths teachers. Entry forms for the 2013 SAMO will be posted to schools early in January.