VN maths whizzkid has all angles covered
Vo Anh Duc, from the central province of Ha Tinh, was the region's first student to win a gold medal at the global 2013 International Mathematical Olympiad recently held in Colombia.He shares with Nguyen Thanh Ha his passion for maths and dreams for the future.
Maths Olympic Medallist Vo Anh Duc and his team have received a congratulatory letter from President Truong Tan Sang who said: "Your achievements have helped draw Viet Nam level with some of the world's most powerful countries in the world."
Duc's teacher Tu Huu Son says he discovered his genius for mathematics when he was in the 10th grade. He only needs a few short minutes to comprehend a maths lesson in a variety of ways, whereas his classmates require several days," says Son.
Inner Sanctum: What were your first feelings when you won the Maths Olympic Gold Medal in Colombia last month?
All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with happiness. Then I phoned my parents to tell them the good news. My mother said the news was so great that it helped her quickly recovered from an illness.
Inner Sanctum: What inspired your interest in maths?
I have been interested in studying maths since I was a little boy at primary school. I often finished my maths exercises at home right after returning from class. Often, my parents would ask me time and again to join them for a meal, but I had to apologise to them because I was tackling a difficult maths problem that required my full concentration. I thought that if I left it to join the meal I would forget how to solve the figures.
Inner Sanctum: What are your experiences in learning maths?
To carry out good maths studies, first you need to have a passion for maths and then learn everything about it on your own. But with difficult problems, you should ask teachers and friends and exchange views with them often.
But the most important point is to understand the essence of a maths problem so that you could apply it to other puzzles.
Inner Sanctum: How have your parents and your Ha Tinh High School's Specialised Maths Class helped you in your study?
During my last three high school years, my parents and teachers have created the most favourable conditions for me to focus on maths. My teachers have spent a lot of time training me in class and always answered my questions on difficult problems without complaining.
When I would revise and practise maths drills at night, my mother would often stay awake to cook me a bowl of soup and always told me to go to bed early.
Before joining the International Mathematical Olympiad my mother (a housewife) was always ready to play electronic games with me in an effort to reduce the psychological pressures I experienced before important contests.
In addition, my father often invited me to do physical exercises such as transverse beam, tennis and badminton to improve our wellbeing and increase my height. He said a man should be strong and tall as well as in posession of an excellent brain.
Inner Sanctum: What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning maths and which other subjects do you like?
I have been learning in very good conditions with excellent teachers and challenging maths classes where my peers and I would often compete with each other.
Apart from maths, I was also interested in physics, chemisry and history.
One of my disadvantages is that living in Ha Tinh, we do not have access to as many interesting documents as my friends in Ha Noi. But thanks to the Internet - where I often download extra math problems to do at home – I have been able to bridge the gap.
Inner Sanctum: By winning the IMO Gold Medal, you were given the choice of attending any university you liked without having to sit an entrance exam. Which university do you intend to enrol in?
I decided I was not suited to learning economic branches so I plan to learn IT, using the knowledge I've gained during my school years. However, I have to improve my English to win a scholarship to study IT in the US. — VNS