MEDIA RELEASE — May 29, 2009

Canadian Mathematical Society
Imperial Oil Foundation

May 29, 2009
Imperial Oil Foundation

Canadian Team for the 50th International Mathematical Olympiad

OTTAWA, Ontario — Six students selected to represent Canada at the 2009 International Mathematical Olympiad in Breman, Germany.

Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 50th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Bremen, Germany from July 10 to July 22, 2009.

"The six students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills, understanding and imagination that is so vital to compete against the very best at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's IMO team. "They represent the best of our students and will be excellent representatives for Canada".

The six students – Yu (Robin) Cheng, Pinetree Secondary School, Coquitlam (British Columbia); Jonathan Schneider, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto (Ontario); XiaoLin (Danny) Shi, Sir Winston Churchill High School, Calgary (Alberta); Hunter Spink, Western Canada High School, Calgary (Alberta); Chen Sun, A.B. Lucas Secondary School, London (Ontario); and Chengyue (Jarno) Sun, Western Canada High School, Calgary (Alberta) - were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades 7 to 12 (plus CEGEP) who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests.

The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, will be pitting their skills against more than 500 of the world's best students from over 100 countries. The IMO competition paper, which is set by an international jury of mathematicians, will be written on Wednesday, July 15 and Thursday, July 16 and the medals awarded on Tuesday, July 21. The contest is written over two days, each day consisting of three questions to be solved within four and one-half hours. "It is a highly challenging mathematical 'hexathlon' and these are our Canadian mathletes," commented Wright.

The team will be accompanied by the Team Leader, Dr. Dorette Pronk (Dalhousie University), the Deputy Team Leader, Mr. David Arthur (Stanford University) and the Deputy Team Leader Observer, Mr. Jacob Tsimerman (Princeton University).

Canada first sent a team to an IMO competition in 1981 (Washington, USA). Since then, Canadian students have done very well, receiving a total of 16 gold, 37 silver, and 65 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Madrid, Spain, the Canadian team placed 22nd out of the 97 competing countries and won six medals.

"These competitions allow Canadian high school students to compete with the best from the many other countries," said Dr. Neal Madras, York University, Chair of the CMS Mathematical Competitions Committee. "It should be noted that Canadian students do very well even though in many countries high school finishes at age 19." The six students will be attending a special IMO Training Camp at the University of Calgary and at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in Banff, Alberta from June 26 to July 12, 2009 and the IMO Team Send-off Luncheon will be held on Monday, June 29th at 12:00 PM. The media can meet the team at 11:00 AM on June 29th in the Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary. The team will leave for Germany on July 12 and will return to Canada on July 22, 2009.

The Imperial Oil Foundation (IOF) is the Major Sponsor of the Canadian IMO team. In addition to the IOF and the Canadian Mathematical Society, sponsors of the 2009 Canadian IMO team include: Sun Life Financial; NSERC PromoScience; the Banff International Research Station; the Samuel Beatty Fund; Maplesoft; Nelson Thomson Learning; John Wiley and Sons Canada Ltd; A.K. Peters Ltd; the Ontario Ministry of Education; Alberta Learning; Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth; Nova Scotia Department of Education; the Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Education; the Northwest Territories Ministry of Education; the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education; Centre de recherches mathématiques; the Fields Institute; the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Dalhousie University; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Regina; the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto; the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo; the Department of Statistics, University of Waterloo; and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, York University.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: (613) 733-2662, Ext. 713
Cel: (613) 290-3046
or Dr. Neal Madras
Chair, MCC Committee
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
York University
Tel: (416) 736-5250