Hanoi Mathematics Olympiad features best and brightest of UNIS mathletes

On the 19th and 21st of February, over 40 students sacrificed their 50 minute lunch time in the class of Mr. Moyale and Mr. Fairbairn to do, of all things, a math test. It was not detention, it was not suspension, it was not because these students have failed in some way, it was because these students are competing for the honor of being on the UNIS team participating in Hanoi Mathematics Olympiad 2013

The tension increases as more and more questions are announced minute by minute, leaving contestants with nearly 60 seconds to answer each one. Out of these students, Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Moyale will pick the best, separated into two teams of five 9-12 (the Seniors) and two teams of five 6-8 (the Juniors).

The brainchild of our own IB Math teacher Neil Fairbairn and HIS IB math teacher Althea Gallaway the Hanoi Mathematics Olympiad 2013 was hosted by HIS on the 9th of March 2013, involving over 50 students and 5 schools. Selections for the team were incredibly hard. There was an abundant amount of contestants of almost all ages (there was only one contestant from grade 12); however, the results showed majority of top place contestants from grade 10, “we had to cut two grade 10s”, said Mr. Fairbairn.

8:30, morning of the conference, a collective rabble of Matheletes got on an UNIS bus, heading toward HIS. Joining them were teams from HIS, BVIS, Concordia, Hanoi Academy. The auditorium of HIS on the 9th of March became the battleground, where minds are pit against minds, math and logic are tactics, and numbers are weapons.

There are 5 different rounds, each hosted by a different teacher. The Speed Round tests team members’ quickness. The Estimation Round was ridiculous (how many grains of salt are in a kilogram?). Then there is the Team round, everyone has to work together using mathematics to find a telephone number. The Questions round, fast paced questions that the whole team can discuss. The last round uniquely had each team divided again into two teams, where one team solves one question which will unlock the next question for the other team. Extra review

UNIS teams proudly brought back silver medals for Junior Team B, Junior Team A closely followed in 3rd (double check). Senior Team A got third, but no bronze, Senior Team B followed by one point. We sure didn’t win much, but it was lots of fun. The math, the teacher, the excitement, everything clearly showed potential for greater events. It would also be much more fun if there is more time for groups to interact and socialize. What this writer feels that is seriously missing from this event however is a letter of certification, something for the ones who didn’t win anything, and a great piece of paper in resumes of these future college applicants. This is of course the first conference, and there is definitely room for second and third and to infinity conferences with further improvements, (technically infinity is a concept, not a number, math person talking here). Tae Jun Park from Grade 10 of Senior Team A summed up Hanoi Mathematics Olympiad 2013 with one word: “Amazing”.


Participants of Hanoi Mathematics Olympiad 2013:


Juniors Team A: Hoi Yoon Jung, Sang Mok Lee, Timothy Lee, Na Yeon Kim, Rohan Gowda

Juniors Team B: Maho Wakui, Jenny Kim, Long Than, Akira Hirama, Sun Woo Alice Jeong

Seniors Team A: Bum Soo, Seung Hyun Sohn, Tae Jun Park, Viet Than, Siddharth Partra

Seniors Team B: Dong Heon Lee, Nam Nguyen, Na Young Kim, Chi Mai, Susie Park