A motivation for Math and some Math competitive exams in India

Sometime back, there was a tremendous publicity in the Indian media to two Fields medallists of Indian origin. They also talked about what motivated them towards Math when they were young. One should  not do Math just lured by its glamorous applications in IT or other engineering disciplines. But, one can develop both aptitude and attitude  towards it if one works from a young age.

What you need is intrinsic motivation. In this context, I like to quote the following words of a famous mathematician:

“And, a final observation. We should not forget that the solution to any worthwhile problem very rarely comes to us easily and without hard work; it is rather the result of intellectual effort of days or weeks or months. Why should the young mind be willing to make this supreme effort? The explanation is probably the instinctive preference for certain values, that is, the attitude which rates intellectual effort and spiritual achievement higher than material advantage. Such valuation can only be the result of long cultural development of environment and public spirit which is difficult to accelerate by the governmental aid or even by more intensive training in mathematics. The most effective means may consist of transmitting to the young mind the beauty of intellectual work and the feeling of satisfaction following a great and successful mental effort.” —- Gabor Szego

For those of you who are willing to work hard, the following competitive exams (in Math) are available at various levels of your school-life:

1) National Talent Search Exam (NTSE) — standard 10 and 12

2) IMO and NSO of Science Foundation (http://www.sofworld.org ) These exams can be attempted by students of almost all standards.

3) IPM: Institute for Promotion of Mathematics exams.

4) KVPY: Kishor Vaignanik Protsahan Yojana: This can be attempted by students of 11th, 12th and F.Y.B.Sc. This leads to a seat in the pure sciences including Math in the prestigious IISc, Bangalore.

5) Regional Math Olympiads (RMO) and Indian National Math Olympiad (INMO): These exams are really intense. Students from 9th to 11th standard can attempt these. These are conducted by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Homi Bhabha.

More later…

Nalin Pithwa


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