The Institute of Mathematics of the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest is organizing a one week long summer school in mathematics. This year, the topic of the school will be "Higher mathematics through problem solving". Can one learn how to solve math problems? Can one learn mathematics through problem solving? The answer to both questions is most certainly YES.
Although mathematics is much more than just going through a series of drill problems -- posing new questions, building new theories, applying the existing tools to other areas of science are just as important --, problem solving remains one of the most important parts of mathematics education. And it's fun, too!
A new definition, a theorem or even whole theories are best understood when we are guided to discover these results through our own efforts. Carefully chosen problems will lead us to understand these results without feeling the difficulties of reading a "dry theorem", and we will also better appreciate the conditions which give the proper setting of a mathematical statement. By getting trained in problem solving, we will also get a training for doing research.
Problem solving competitions have a long tradition in Hungary. The first high school competitions were established more than 120 years ago and they served as a model to many nowadays existing competitions throughout the world. And the problem solving tradition was extended to university education, too. Most math courses taught at universities come together with a practical class where individual problem solving skills are developed, parallel to the theory, explored in the lectures. Perhaps one of the most challenging math competitions in the world is the Miklós Schweitzer Memorial competition, held annually: in this open book competition students have ten days to solve 10 to 12 problems, some of which are of research level difficulty. (See for example this wikipage or download last year's problem sheet from here.)
During the summer school there will be problem solving sessions in algebra, number theory, combinatorics, geometry, analysis and probability theory, each of them concentrating on one or two special topics. Participants will get a brief introduction into the necessary notions and results and then individual work will follow, with the guidance of the lecturers and their assistants.
Although a timetable with no timeconflicts between various classes will be offered, it is highly recommended to the participants to choose not more than three minicourses so that they would have enough time for the individual work.
If you are planning your future and want to check out our graduate school which offers an English language MSc program, then this is a good opportunity to do so with a 1-week long, intensive experience.
Also, if you are interested in a true European metropolitan city with a vivid cultural life, then Budapest is an obvious choice.
Institute of MathematicsEötvös UniversityPázmány Péter sétány 1/CBudapest, Hungary 1117
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