21. April 2017
Have fun with the Highlights of European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad 2017 in Zurich. Starring: 168 young math talents from almost all over the world!
Film: Florian Merkli
20. April 2017
Journalists and representatives of the press may find further information on the results of EGMO 2017 below. Contact persons can be found at the end of each press release.
Press Release, 12 April 2017
Pictures of the Winners
12. April 2017
And suddenly, the EGMO 2017 is already over! When Viviane Kehl declared the EGMO closed in the closing ceremony, many might have thought that the time really does run fast. A week full of fun, friendship and passion has come to an end. A magical end indeed.
Well, some already call it the Rigi curse… After last years’ International Physics Olympiad, the EGMO was the second Olympiad visiting the mountain. And the second Olympiad that had bad luck with the weather. We still hope that our guests enjoyed the cable car rides, the fresh alpine air and the cheese fondue on top of Mount Rigi, the Queen of Swiss Alps.
And so, the end was near. But first, the medals were awarded at a fun and entertaining closing ceremony that was hosted on the Irchel Campus of the University of Zurich. With inspirational speeches by Prof. Dr. Michael Hengartner, President of the University of Zurich, Dr. Silvia Steiner, Government Councilor of the Canton Zurich, and Dr. Birgit van Dalen, Chair EGMO Advisory Board, the extraordinary achievements of the participants were honored.
Also, all volunteers, coordinators, institutional and financial partners were thanked for their outstanding efforts, without which the EGMO 2017 would not have been possible. Special thanks go to the members of the EGMO 2017 organizing committee, all of them unpaid volunteers, students and former participants of EGMO, IMO or MEMO. For years, they invested a lot of their free time to make EGMO 2017 the wonderful event it has become. Thank you Andreas Bärtschi, Viviane Kehl, Jana Cslovjecsek and Jonas Kühne for your great job!
And the winners? Well, of course each of the 168 girls that qualified for the EGMO 2017 already was a winner. They passed their national Olympiad in their home country, winning a ticket to participate in Zurich. Still, we’d like to highlight the achievements of some especially talented participants:
Olha Shevchenko (Ukraine) and Qi Qi (USA) were particularly successful in solving the exams: These two young women were the only ones to achieve a perfect score, solving all problems correctly. The other gold medalists were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Kazakhstan, Russia, Serbia, Hungary, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Congratulations!
And to all delegations we wish a save trip back home. It was a pleasure and an honour to be your host at EGMO 2017!
Use your Talent
11. April 2017
What should I study? What do I want to do in my life? Most of EGMO’s participants will face these questions soon or have already taken a decision. Yesterday evening, they had the pleasure to listen and talk to four women who are working as mathematicians, for Google, Roche, ETH Zürich and Munich Re. The discussion was about how fascinating math is, and how it helps to shape our future. However, it was also about personal recommendations towards the young girls regarding their future. This is an attempt to highlight some advices.
Talent: Sandrine Micaleff (Roche) pointed out the importance of using the talent that participants have: “Do what you love and you will be good at it. After your studies, you will find a way to apply your ability to think about hard problems in your professional career.” Bea Wollenmann (Munich Re, founder of the Swiss Mathematical Olympiads) adds, that it also important to gain new skills: “Learn a lot about communication and how to work together with other people with different ideas.”
Self-confidence: Özlem Imamoglu (ETH Zürich) underlined, that a good self-confidence is required. “Think about yourself: Are you satisfied? That is enough, you do not have to be twice as good as your male colleagues, but you have to believe in your skills. People notice this and will treat you differently, and it also helps you to get a thick skin.” This thickness is necessary, she thinks, because there are still some people with sexist views.
Open-mindedness and flexibility: There is no chance to plan a career in full details. “Take the chances you get, stay open to new possibilities”, is the advice of Bea Wollenmann. Mirjam Wattenhofer comments, that at the beginning of her career, she did not study what she loved most. Rather, she chose a subject that offered her new possibilities: She studied Computer Science because she wanted to move to Finland working for her uncle’s company.
Family and work: Combining work and family is possible, all guests agreed. It requires a lot of talking with the partner about roles and duties; sometimes it means also to postpone perhaps a child because of a new job offer or a new home. Moreover, it means to organize many things: childcare, housekeeping, etc.
We would like to thank our guests for their interesting contributions and for their commitment to motivate you women to study mathematics.
Exams are Over!
After two days with 4.5 hours of exams each, our girls really deserved some additional fun. In the warm spring sun shining over Zurich, they visited the Zurich Zoo, its huge Madagascar jungle in the Masoala Hall, and the Asian elephants in their newly built copula. And they went to a relaxing boat trip on Lake Zurich, marveling at the surrounding mountains and lush hillsides around Zurich.
In the meantime, leaders, deputy leaders and coordinators compared their corrections of the exams and settled on the final results at the so-called coordination. Find pictures of the coordination in the Flickr album below, and a text describing the long way to the final ranking, honoring the huge work involved, here.
The Long Way to the Final Ranking
10. April 2017
EGMO is about meeting new people, sharing the passion for mathematics, and having lots of fun. But it’s also about exams. And they mean a lot of work that goes often unnoticed. So, let us show you the long way that leads to the final ranking, and honor those who contribute to a successful EGMO 2017.
Well first, the exams of course must be written. This is not done by the organizers of EGMO 2017. Rather, exam questions are sent to the EGMO 2017 problem selection committee. This year, they could choose from around 40 suggestions provided by members of the national Mathematical Olympiad of participating countries. Before the EGMO starts, the committee selects 6 challenging exams of various topics and difficulty. On each of the two exam days, 3 problems must be solved within 4.5 hours.
At the jury meetings, the leaders of each delegation discuss the 6 selected exam problems and their wording. Also, they should announce whether the problem has already been used in their own national Olympiad (in which case the problem would be replaced by another to make sure that no competitors have advantages). In EGMO 2017, the 6 initially chosen problems were accepted. After the official English versions are finalized, the leaders translate them into the languages of their students.
While the leaders are busy with the problems, the coordinators take care of the marking schemes. For each known solution and the way there, the coordinators define how the 7 points per problem are awarded.
Exam Room Preparation
168 girls need 168 tables, chairs, exam folders and answer sheets, snacks and much more. The preparation of the exam room, the re-equipment after the first exam and the entire cleanup need a lot of our volunteers’ eager hands and feet.
Printing and Copying
Once the exams are accepted and translated, our volunteers print them, sort them, and pack them into exam folders for each participant. Once the exams are taken, all answer sheets have to be collected, controlled and copied for the correction process.
The correction of the exams is done by two groups in parallel. The 28 coordinators focus each on one problem, and they each correct the solutions of around multiple competitors. A process that can easily take 10 hours (ending for some early in the morning, as the copies of the exams are ready around 3 pm in the afternoon). Coordinators have been chosen to cover as many languages as possible, as the solutions don’t always contain only numbers, but also explanations in the mother tongues of the delegations. In some cases, even external translators supported the coordinators efforts to guarantee fair corrections in all languages.
At the same time leaders, deputy leaders and observers correct the solutions of the girls of their own delegation. Both corrections must be done with quite some time pressure, to be ready for the coordination on Monday.
At the coordination, the two corrections for each contestant and each problem are compared. If the leaders and coordinators have not given the same amount of points, they discuss the corrections and settle on final results.
Final Jury Meeting and Ranking
Once the coordination is over, the resulting ranking is released and the medal cuts are set on Monday evening. With this, the work for most leaders, deputies, observers, coordinators and volunteers of the academic committee is over, and they can look forward to a well-deserved excursion to Mount Rigi and a hopefully exciting Closing Ceremony on Tuesday. Thank you all for your hard work.
Mathematics Shapes our Future
Imagine a world without mathematics: No Internet, no computer tomography, no pin codes, no statistics. Impossible! Mathematics is a key technology for our society. Tonight, participants will have a talk with 4 female mathematicians working for Google, Roche, ETH and Munich Re. They will discuss about their personal career and how their work adresses challenges of today’s society.
One of our guest is Prof. Dr. Özlem Imamoglu. She is a number theorist working in the mathematics department of ETH Zürich. Imamoglu is fascinated by the hidden properties of numbers. Read the whole ETH News article about her work and her commitment to motivate young women to study mathematics.
We are also happy to welcome Dr. Sandrine Micaleff. She is a statistician modeler and works as a pharmacometrician at Roche. In the following text, she talks about the goal of her work, her professional background, and the reason why she likes mathematics:
“I am a statistician modeler and I work as a pharmacometrician at Roche. My work contributes to deliver new drugs for patients. I have heart to use my education in applied mathematics to participate to the improvement of patients’ lives, and human health.
I see mathematics as a game and this game has the ability to represent a simplified version of the world around us. Since this is a game, we are able to play with it: explore different hypotheses, imagine and predict what could the future be, take informed decision. The beauty of mathematics stands for me in its polymorph nature: in the fact that it can be very abstract, very theoretical, and at the same time very concrete, and so useful in everyday life. It can be very logical and very sharped, and at the same time, manage uncertainty, explore likelihood of very complex events. I feel this is fascinating and enjoying.
Before joining Roche, I was a Statistic Project Leader for oncology targeted therapies at Sanofi for 9 years. Prior to that, I was a statistician modeler in the French National Institute for Environment and Risks (INERIS) for 7 years, in charge of research projects in bio-kinetic, and bio-dynamic modelling. I received my Ph.D. in applied Statistics from the ABIES French doctoral school. My phD thesis aimed at building Bayesian statistic tool for medical decision support on the caffeine treatment of premature neonates against apnoea.”
Exams and Sports
8. April 2017
4.5 hours of math exams. What sounds like a nightmare to some is a delight for others. Our 168 contestants spend half of this sunny and warm spring day inside, using all their brain power and creativity for the three exam problems of today. And enjoying the beauty of mathematics.
But all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. That’s why we offered some opportunities to do some sports in the afternoon. Here are the pictures of the day: