A Primer for Mathematics Competitions

Alexander Zawaira & Gavin Hitchcock



The importance of mathematics competitions has been widely recognized for three reasons: they help to develop imaginative capacity and thinking skills whose value far transcends mathematics; they constitute the most effective way of discovering and nurturing mathematical talent; and they provide a means to combat the prevalent false image of mathematics held by high school students, as either a fearsomely difficult or a dull and uncreative subject. This book provides a comprehensive training resource for competitions from local and provincial to national Olympiad level, containing hundreds of diagrams, and graced by many light-hearted cartoons.


An unusual feature of this book is the attention paid throughout to the history of mathematics - the origins of the ideas, the terminology and some of the problems, and the celebration of mathematics as a multicultural, cooperative human achievement.


Alexander Zawaira was born in Zimbabwe in 1978. He studied Mathematics and Biochemistry at the University of Zimbabwe and Oxford.

Gavin Hitchcock was born in Zimbabwe in 1946. He won scholarships to study mathematics at the Universities of Oxford and Keele, where he took his PhD with a thesis in general topology.