19th April 2016, 2:39pm
Budding mathematician wows judges in University maths challenge
Dr Evgeny Khukhro and Jack Sacks A 12-year old maths prodigy has succeeded in a challenge set by the University of Lincoln, UK, which was designed to test GCSE and A Level pupils from across the country.

Jack Sacks (12) attends Penistone Grammar School in Sheffield. He was named as one of seven winners in Lincoln’s Mathematics Challenge 2016, hosted by the University’s School of Mathematics & Physics.

The challenge invited pre-university school pupils to test their mathematical skills by considering six different problems.

A panel of judges reviewed all competition entries and selected seven winning submissions which were completed by pupils from Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire and as far afield as Edinburgh.

Jack, by far the youngest competitor in the challenge, received a third place prize, while Ricky Bassi from Beauchamp College in Oadby, Leicestershire, was awarded first place. Ricky received a prize of £100 Amazon vouchers at a special awards ceremony at the University of Lincoln.

Ricky said: “I enjoyed completing the set of questions for the competition, and was very surprised to hear I had won! Also, when Dr Khukhro went through the various solutions, it was really interesting to see how the other competitors found other unique solutions.”

The challenge was led by Dr Evgeny Khukhro, Senior Lecturer in the University of Lincoln’s School of Mathematics & Physics.

Dr Khukhro said: “We were absolutely delighted with the response to Mathematics Challenge 2016. It is an annual competition which encourages school pupils to consider inventive solutions to thought-provoking problems. We congratulate all of our winners and extend a big thank you to everyone who took the time to participate. The submissions we received this year were of an excellent standard and it is remarkable to think that pupils as young as 12 are enjoying the challenge.”

Ms Jo Higgins, Principal at Penistone Grammar School, said: “I am delighted to hear about Jack's fantastic achievement. I am very proud of him. He epitomises our core values, one of which is to always aim high. Jack has certainly done this showing that he has a bright future ahead with endless possibilities.”

Following the awards ceremony, the successful competitors heard a talk by Dr Sandro Mattarei from the University of Lincoln’s School of Mathematics & Physics. Dr Matterei specialises in pure mathematics, and talked to the pupils about studies of platonic solids.  

Other challenge winners include Andy Pollock from Franklin College in Grimsby and Ewan Ward from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Alford, who were awarded joint second place. Vlad Brebeanu from Skegness Academy, Douglas Douglas from Stamford School and Petr Jakubcik from George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh were all awarded joint third place alongside Jack Sacks.
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