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PROF. YAU’S INITIATIVE

Based on Prof. Shing Tung Yau’s suggestions it is proposed to organize college student mathematics contests. By competing with their peers it would help to enhance undergraduates in their basic college training in mathematics. The examination shall cover wide range of subjects. With deep and interesting questions this would motivate students to learn.There shall be an outstanding panel to oversee it.

Young talents in China are abundant. The aim of the competition is to help many students in China to acquire basic trainings in modern mathematics. It is a basic step to build up a solid foundation in the developments of mathematics in China.We believe this will bring college mathematics education in China to a higher level and it would help to transform a country of vast population into a country of vast human resources. The test results shall be important references to admitting graduate students both in and outside of China.

An open letter to Colleagues in Mathematics on College Student Mathematics Contest from Prof. Shing-Tung Yau

Dear Colleagues,

We are initiating a College Student Mathematics Contest. In this letter I shall explain more clearly the needs of this college mathematics competition. We wish the competition helps to achieve the following goals.

1.In the training of a good mathematician a crucial step is to have students to know basic subjects and skills in mathematics before they do research. To achieve this major universities in the world set up qualify exams for beginning graduate students. Good students majoring in mathematics in Chinese universities should be good enough to pass qualify exams in any major universities in the world, e.g. Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, etc. However in US we are facing the problem that some good Chinese students could not pass while good students from other countries could, especially those from Eastern European countries. The College Mathematics Contest shall be broad enough to cover the subjects in those qualify exams and it shall be helpful to train many good students in mathematics for China and for the world.

2.It should be a fair competition so that students from 'second rated' universities in China are given a second chance to compete. This is very important. There are many reasons that a high school student did not get into top universities such as bad luck, poor health, poverty, or immature. But it is often the case that situations changed when they go to college, they become more mature and suddenly they decide to be good. With the present situation, students of such colleges have hard time to go to the best universities to do graduate study. We should give them a chance. After all, when I was educated in Hong Kong, it was difficult for me to go to the first rated universities. It was through my hard work and good luck that I became recognized.

3.To make sure those top university students to know that there are continuous challenges for their mathematics life so that they have to work hard at a fundamental level. It is very popular to see those students from college in China to talk about philosophy of mathematics while they have no idea on how to sit down to do a mathematics computation, this can be changed most effectively by such a competition.

4.We shall invite world class mathematicians to give students oral test (for the top 15 candidates) and their names will endorse the quality of those students and it will be helpful for them to go to the best graduate schools. I am sure that many mathematicians would like to meet those brilliant students.

In short I believe that the competition will bring the ability of our students to a much higher level. We welcome your students to participate the College Mathematics Contest.

With best regards,

Shing-Tung Yau
Chair of Department of Mathematics at Harvard and
Chair of the Scientific and Questions Committee
July 11, 2010

 

 

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