Bonn Math Tournament 2022

Hausdorff Center for Mathematics of the University of Bonn organizes a team competition for schools on September 23

Photo: Barbara Frommann, Bonn Math Tournament 2021

Bonn, 14.09.2022. Approximately 70 schools from all over North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond will compete in the Bonn Mathematics Tournament on September 23. Each school will send a team consisting of five students. Two "dream teams" will start out of competition - a team of math teachers from the participating schools and a team of researchers and students from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics. The competition will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the CAMPO Campusmensa in Poppelsdorf. Media are cordially invited to the event.

The students learn mathematics in a new context in the tournament and during its preparation - with questions that are not covered by normal school lessons. The tasks are always related to practice. This year, the topic of the tournament is "Max-Plus-Algebras". Such mathematical structures can be used, for example, to create optimally coordinated timetables for local and long-distance public transport or to improve existing timetables. Student teachers at the University of Bonn developed materials for the competition as part of their bachelor's theses. This year, explanatory videos were also created for the first time.

At the end of the tournament, the students will learn from Martin Ulirsch from Frankfurt, once himself a Hausdorff postdoc in Bonn, what geometric peculiarities arise when you calculate with a "max-plus algebra" - and what a matroid is, i.e. the object for whose study June Huh received the Fields Medal this year.

In the teams, the young people experience mathematics the way it is usually done in mathematical research: as a cooperative group work. In this way, the tournament differs from classic mathematics competitions, in which participants usually compete against each other individually.

The math tournament is one of numerous projects of the Cluster of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM), with which students are to be inspired for mathematics and individually supported. The tournament is organized by Stefan Hartmann, scientific associate at the HCM, together with students from the HCM's "school team".

Rainer Kaenders, professor of mathematics and its didactics at the University of Bonn, brought the idea for the mathematics tournament in 2008 from the Netherlands, where it has been organized by Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen since 1992. Since 2010, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven has also organized such a tournament. Since then, the competitions have been held simultaneously in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The winning teams from all three countries go on a trip together as a prize and thus also get to know each other personally after the event. The organizational teams of the three universities continue to refine the tournament each year in common meetings.