A team of four students chosen from various post-secondary schools and colleges from across Malta and Gozo participated in the Mediterranean Youth Mathematical Championship (MYMC) held at the “Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II” in Naples, Italy, on the 18th and 19th of July 2019. The team was prepared by members of the Department of Mathematics within the Faculty of Science at the University of Malta. A number of problem solving sessions were organised since January 2018. During these sessions, students were presented with mathematical challenges and problems from a wide variety of areas that go beyond the mathematics syllabus studied at schools. This participation was also made possible through the “Mathematics Awareness Fund” and with the assistance of the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes within the Ministry for Education and Employment.
The Maltese team, accompanied by two reserves and three adults, was one of seventeen teams coming from various Mediterranean countries having a much bigger population than ours. Many of these countries have specialised schools only for talented students and have a history of participation in prestigious Mathematics Olympiads (such as the International Mathematical Olympiad). It was the first time that Malta participated in the MYMC in particular, and in any international Olympiad for this age-group in general, and placing in 10th place is a great achievement for the team and for Malta. Well done to all the team members for their dedication, commitment and perseverance!
During the time spent in Naples, the team visited the historical banking archives of the “Fondazione Banco di Napoli” dating back to the 15th century, the “Aula Magna Storica” and the museums of mineralogy and zoology housed at the Università Federico II, and parts of the old city of Naples. This provided all the participants from the different countries with the unique opportunity to socialise, share experiences and make new friends.
The Department of Mathematics has already started preparing the team to participate in next year’s MYMC. The enthusiasm shown by the students makes this lengthy and very demanding process worthwhile, and apart from the actual competition itself, the participants stand to gain a lot from being stimulated further to enjoy doing mathematics for its intrinsic value.