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  • Jacob Bennett-Woolf

Celebration of 30 years for the Irish Mathematical Olympiad

In a joint celebration with the ceremony for the Award for Irish Teachers of Mathematics on the 26th May 2018 in

UCC, Ireland celebrated 30 years of participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad. The event included many from Olympiads past and present, including two people from the first Irish Olympiad in 1988 and the original founder. The guests heard about the history and how the Olympiad came into being. Finally, at the end of the day, the 2017 Olympiad team passed on the Irish flag to the 2018 team and the 2018 team looked ready for the challenge.

With the support of the Department of Education and Skills and of the Royal Irish Academy, the Irish Mathematical Trust organises Ireland's participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), the world's annual mathematics championship for school students. Ireland started participating in 1988 and has sent a team every year after that, bringing home a total of 10 medals and 41 honourable mentions.

In recent years, a special effort has gone into encouraging young female students to develop their mathematical potential, through participation in events like the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad, where team Ireland earned 3 silver and 2 bronze medals since 2015.

Generous funding from the SFI Discover programme and Smart Futures led to an increase in the numbers and a decrease in the age from which children become interested in mathematics and ready for mathematical Olympiad participation. This contribution shows as the most successful participation was also the most recent, at the 58th International Mathematical Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in 2017, which recorded 2 bronze medals and 4 honourable mentions for team Ireland, and the highest team score in 30 years.

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