Team Tipped for Strong Showing at Mathematical Olympiad

Georgia hosts 2024 European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.
Feb 27, 2024
Aussie math team has Georgia on their minds.

The four member Australian team will travel to the 2024 European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) in Georgia to compete from 11-17 April 2024.

The Australians placed third last time out with twin sisters Iris Xu and Cloris Xu, now in Year 12 at Baulkham Hills High School, Laura Nan, in Year 11 at Fintona Girls’ School in Victoria, who achieved a perfect score and gold medal in the 2023 EGMO; and new team member Amber Li who is in Year 10 at Pymble Ladies’ College, New South Wales representing the country this year.

Having achieved a gold medal at EGMO in 2022 and 2023, and an honourable mention at the 2023 International Mathematical Olympiad, Iris Xu gave some insight as to why she enjoys maths and mathematical competitions.

“My passion for mathematics stems from a keen interest in problem-solving and understanding its impact on the world. I find satisfaction in overcoming challenging problems, and exploring the positive influence such skills can have on society. The possibility of meeting people [at EGMO] who share the same interest as me is exciting, and it’s also great to have a chance to form lasting connections that extend beyond the event,” said Iris.

New team member Amber Li says aspiring female mathematicians shouldn’t worry whether they “have the talent”, and to not be discouraged by failure. Amber likes maths because of the beauty that emerges when everything fits together. Seeing and generalising patterns, and slowly getting to understand the structure and ideas behind a seemingly complicated problem, is very satisfying and rewarding.

“Mathematics is hard and it’s natural to struggle, do badly, then try again (she has spent countless hours doing this, and so has practically every successful student).

“Hard work and a love of maths are the truly important things that will help you achieve your goals. It might sometimes feel like nobody around you is on the same journey, but that’s not true - there are many girls all around Australia and in the world who are interested in mathematics. Keep pursuing your interests, and you’ll find a great community.”

This is the seventh year that Australia will be represented at EGMO, the premier international mathematical problem-solving contest for young women. In a similar style to the International Mathematical Olympiad, two papers will be taken on consecutive days. Participating countries send teams consisting of four female mathematicians of school age.

“While our teams always want to perform their best for the competition, EGMO is about so much more - a chance for young women to meet their international peers and form relationships that will last a lifetime. Above all, after the hard work they've all put in, it's time for Amber, Cloris, Iris and Laura to have fun and enjoy the challenge and inspiration of mathematical problem-solving,” said Nathan Ford, CEO of the Australian Maths Trust (AMT). 

This year’s EGMO staffing team will be led by Sally Tsang, a medical doctor and mathematician, who is involved with AMT’s high-performance pathway as a lecturer and mentor.

AMT’s 2024 EGMO initiative is supported by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources through the Inspiring Australia - Science Engagement Programme. It is also supported by the Trust’s National Sponsor of the Australian Informatics and Mathematical Olympiad Programs, Optiver.

Image by Maria Orlova