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     Volume 4 Issue 2 | July 2, 2004 |


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The Sunny Side of

Life without maths is like a broken pencil…pointless. In order to refresh the excitement of mathematics, a two-day National Math Festival was held in Notre Dame College on June 23 and 24. The event was organised by the Bangladesh Math Olympiad Committee and sponsored by Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd. and Prothom Alo.

The participants of this competition were winners from different regions and divisions of the country and they were tested in four different categories. The occasion also featured numerous events such as the math Olympiad, teaching workshops, discussions, surprise quizzes and math drills followed by cultural programmes.

After the opening festivities, the floors of Notre Dame shook with the roar of eager feet, being taken to their respective classes and tested on different mathematical nitty-gritty. Soon, the Mathematics Olympiad was in full swing. Over 400 applicants sat for the test and after the students started pouring out of the classrooms, the excitement was evident. Some were confident and happy about their '100/100' scores, while others walked in disbelief at how they had managed to miss out a vital chapter from their revision the following night.

Taisha Tasreen Mimu stood staring expressionlessly at a bulletin board. "I could not answer four questions," was her sad reply before going back to staring at the board. She is perhaps among the scores of students whose parents are always pushing them to the limit; to strive for perfection at every walk, over-expectation always fuels their enthusiasm.

The prize-giving ceremony and other special shows marked the second day of the event. There were also special discussions on how maths can be improved in this information technology era and on famous mathematicians, scientists, space, aeronautics and much more. Among who spoke on the occasion were renowned scientist Jamal Nazrul Islam, Vice-chancellor of BRAC University, scientist, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury and editor of Prothom Alo, Matiur Rahman.

A software that makes maths easier and more fun was also presented on the occasion by a voluntary organisation called Bangla Innovation through Open Source (Bios). If more such software are created and are financially backed by the government and other bodies, these organisations would be able to prosper and maybe take it to the next step in the ladder of information technology.

There was also a Science Fair on the ground floor of the campus, with projects on electricity, magnetism, force, reflection and other elements of physics. Pictures of famous mathematicians and scientists adorned the walls of each room. The science fair showcased not only the practical abilities of the students but also their conceptual knowledge. Not only were the students confident but they were also able to present their projects in a professional and elaborate manner. Some major models worth mentioning were The Two Stroke Engine, The Steam Engine, a model to prove Newton's Third law, a fun x-ray (using mirrors) with which one can see through objects and many more. There were also two model planes, each controlled by remote controls and with complete aviation capabilities. At one point, large plane engines were put to the test to show enthusiastic viewers the thrust the propellers made.

Eager parents roamed the halls, pointing to the works of their offspring's explorations that fuelled their pride and joy: their children. As the second day came to an end, festivities ended as well. It was another successful campaign by the Math Olympiad Committee to show us the sunny side of mathematics.

Imran H. Khan

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