In 1978 I was on the British team for the 20th International Mathematical Olympiad (recollections of the trip). It was in Romania and the event was prime time news … and I was one of a group interviewed for the news of the event. the following year the 21st IMO was held in London and there was no press coverage that I found whatsoever. OK mathematics is hardly a spectator sport, but the complete British lack of interest in anything remotely intellectual was disturbing.
But now … nearly 30 years later … perhaps things are changing. On Sunday BBC2 are showing a 90min documentary about the olympiad team. Maybe maths will get sexy!
Beautiful Young Minds1
BBC2 Sun 14 Oct, 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm 90mins
Beautiful Young Minds tells the story of some of the brightest mathematical brains of a generation. Each year, exceptionally gifted teenagers from over 90 countries compete for medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. The film follows a group of brilliant teenagers as they battle it out to become the chosen six selected to represent the UK.
- unfortunately the BBC’s own page on this disappeared at the end of the week – why do they do this! – but there are many descriptions and reviews of it on the web including one at plus.maths.org [back]