World’s toughest maths competition: Two UK girls to make rare appearance on a platform for brainy boys

The rarefied world of international mathematics competitions has traditionally been where brainy teenage boys show their genius for problem solving. This year however, for the first time in a quarter of a century, two girls have made it into the UK squad for the International Mathematical Olympiad , the largest, oldest and most prestigious of international maths contests. The competition starts next week in Rio de Janeiro, when 17-year-old Rosie Cates from Cambridge will become the first female in the six-strong UK team for almost a decade. Naomi Wei, also…

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Maths isn’t the problem – the way it’s taught is

Acounty council gathers data about where road accidents take place, identifies an accident blackspot, places a speed camera there, and notices that the frequency of accidents decreases. Moreover, this is not a one-off: many other councils have observed similar reductions. Does this show that speed cameras improve road safety? The answer isn’t as straightforward as one might imagine – and the way to understand this is through mathematics. Unfortunately, the way the subject is taught often leaves people with a narrow and misleading view of what maths is. No wonder…

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