Count Down : The Race for Beautiful Solutions at the International Mathematical Olympiad, by Olson, Steve
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- ISBN: 9780618562121 | 0618562125
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 7/6/2005
In Count Down, Steve Olson sets out to crack a secret: what inspires a select few average-seeming American teens to become wizards at the world's toughest math competition? Olson shadows the six charming U.S. contestants at the 2001 International Mathematical Olympiad, from their free-time games of Ultimate Frisbee to the high-pressure rounds of the competition, getting to the core of what drives these young people and makes them such nimble problem solvers. In each he finds a mix of inspiration, insight, competitiveness, talent, creativity, and experience, and, perhaps most important, an enduring sense of wonder. As he observes the competitors, Olson delves into math culture and education, exploring why many American students dread geometry, why so few girls pursue competitive math, and whether each of us might have a bit of genius waiting to be nurtured. For parents, teachers, students, and kindred puzzle-lovers, Count Down reveals an engaging approach to the art of beautiful solutions.