UCT student ties for first in SA Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad

30 Aug 2021 - 12:30

Tim Schlesinger’s win marks the ninth time a UCT student has claimed the top spot at the South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad since 2012.

University of Cape Town (UCT) third-year BSc student Tim Schlesinger tied first with two other students at the South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad.

Two university students from the Western Cape have come up tops in the South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad

The Olympiads aims to include a culture of mathematics, to appreciate and acknowledge the critical role of mathematics in the technological environment. To develop programmes that will contribute to the mathematical development of South Africans, to impact positively on the standard of mathematics teaching and learning and to promote research in mathematics and mathematics education.

University of Cape Town third year BsC in Maths and Computer Science student Tim Schlesinger said mathematics had been a passion and gift of his since his mother nurtured it in him from an early age.

“I think God gave me a natural gift for numbers, and doing mathematics is a way for me to glorify him,” he said.

He said he had done the Olympiads throughout high school and university, and the latest was just another one among the many, and he first competed after being picked up by the South African Mathematics Foundation coach from the later rounds of the UCT maths competition.

“This Olympiad went particularly well. I felt good about it on the day, and it ended up showing in the result. I was tied first with two other learners, with 18/20,” he said.

Ralph McDougall, an electrical engineering student from Stellenbosch University, said he always enjoyed quantitative problem solving, which mathematics has helped to facilitate.

“I think mathematics is also quite elegant, making it interesting to study further,” he said.

McDougall said he enjoys the challenge that the problems pose, and it is more than just an exam. There is no syllabus, so one needs to think on one's feet a bit, which he enjoys.

He said this year’s paper had several tricky questions, which he was happy to solve, and is grateful that he came tied first overall.

This article first appeared on Weekend Argus.