Newswise — Official results of the 55th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), held July 3-13 in Cape Town, South Africa, show the United States in second place, behind China. Taiwan (3), Russia (4), and Japan (5) round out the top five. Complete rankings of the more than 100 countries that participated are available here.

On the individual side of the competition, United States team members Allen Liu (Penfield Senior High School, Penfield, New York), Yang Liu (Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis, Missouri), Sammy Luo (North Carolina School of Science and Math, Durham, North Carolina), Mark Sellke (William Henry Harrison High School, West Lafayette, Indiana), and James Tao (Illinois Math and Science Academy, Aurora, Illinois) took home gold medals, while Joshua Brakensiek (home school, Arizona College Prep-Erie, Chandler, Arizona) earned silver. Individual statistics for the United States team and overall individual rankings are available.

The oldest and largest scientific Olympiad, the IMO is a rigorous two-day math competition held each summer in a different location around the globe. Each day participants take a 4.5-hour, three-question exam featuring deceptively simple-looking problems that in fact require considerable ingenuity to solve.

The United States team, accompanied by veteran (adult) leaders Po-Shen Loh and Razvan Gelca, traveled to South Africa after four weeks of intensive preparation at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). MOSP is part of the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) program sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Though more interested in the long-term development of the country’s top mathematical talent than performance in any one competition, team leader Loh noted that the U.S. squad matched China in the individual medal count and missed first place by only eight points. “We’re very happy with the result,” he said.

About MAA AMCThe mission of the MAA's American Mathematics Competitions is to increase interest in mathematics and to develop problem solving through a fun competition. Teachers and schools benefit from the chance to challenge students with interesting mathematical questions that are aligned with curriculum standards at all levels of difficulty. In addition, students gain the opportunity to learn and achieve through competition with students in their school and around the world.

About MAAThe Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Formed in 1915, the association members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists; statisticians; and many others in academia, government, business, and industry who are interested in the mathematical sciences.

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