Math olympia medal count analysis | 奥数奖牌分析

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is an annual six-problem mathematical olympiad for pre-college students younger than 20. The first IMO was held in Romania in 1959. As we will see, eastern Europeans were top performers in the IMO in the earlier years. You can find the summary data analysis in our Jupyter Notebook on GitHub.

It has since been held annually, except in 1980 (what happened in 1980?). More than 100 countries, representing over 90% of the world’s population, send teams of up to six students (under 20 years old) to compete.

Problems cover extremely difficult algebra, pre-calculus, and branches of mathematics not conventionally covered at school and often not at university level either, such as
– projective and complex geometry
– functional equations
– combinatorics
– number theory (where extensive knowledge of theorems is required).

No calculus is required. Supporters of not requiring calculus claim that this allows “more universality and creates an incentive to find elegant, deceptively simple-looking problems which nevertheless require a certain level of ingenuity”.

Rank Country Appearance Gold Silver Bronze Honorable_Mentions
0 1 China 32 147 33 6 0
1 2 United States 43 119 111 29 1
2 3 Russia 26 92 52 12 0
3 4 Hungary 57 81 160 95 10
4 5 Soviet Union 29 77 67 45 0
5 6 Romania 58 75 141 100 4
6 7 South Korea 30 70 67 27 7
7 8 Vietnam 41 59 109 70 1
8 9 Bulgaria 58 53 111 107 10
9 10 Germany 40 49 98 75 11

To see a world in a grain of sand | 从沙粒看世界

Professor ShouCheng Zhang “passed away”.  He is forever with us, seeing a world in a grain of sand, holding infinity in hand.

这是所有视频里最喜欢的一个视频。 张教授深入浅出,循循善诱。尽管已经“离世”, 张教授永远和我们在一起从沙粒看世界,把永恒留在刹那时光。

We won’t quote any physics or mathematics from the video, except the title of the lecture, originally from William Blake, and dedicate them to Professor Zhang:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.


Chinese style education & empty basketball courts |中国式教育和空荡荡的蓝球场

I was in China this November to conduct surveys on education.  I had a few chances of sitting in some after school education programs and cram school classes, including XDF新东方, and was shocked by the amount of work Chinese kids have to do and was saddened by the way they are learning.

Let’s talk about the amount of work first.   I saw very few kids out and about any time of day except commuting hours.   Basketball courts are empty, even on weekends.   Where are all the kids?  They are in endless cram school 补习班 classes.

A middle school child routinely gets up before 7 am and does not go to sleep until midnight or after.   Middle school students stay in school until 8 pm, and work on additional homework from 8 pm till midnight.   Younger students are often working similar hours.

Innovation in education | 教育创新

We don’t hear about startups in education in America as we hear about them in other industries. Why? There are multiple reasons. One is the belief that superior education and profit making are conflicting.  Are they?

Superior customer service in other industries seems to lead to higher profit. People don’t have any issues with that. Then why with education?

It shouldn’t.

So why?

小蛇 | Little snake


A snake can look like a rope.  Don’t get bitten by a snake!!!  It might be poisonous!!!!!!!

帆(fān)船(chuán) | Sailing Ship


Be careful don’t fall into the water!!!!!!

长(cháng)颈(jǐng)鹿(lù) | Giraffe





(qiān)(niú)(huā)(xiǎo) (lǎ)叭(ba)

小(xiǎo)金(jīn)鱼(yú) | Little Goldfish


Fish are very quiet.