An IES Uppsala student has been crowned Sweden’s best mathematician after victory in a national contest.
Year nine student David Mörtberg recorded a near perfect score in the Högstadiets Matematiktävling, when he dropped only one point out of 42. Three other IES students were also in the top 20. Erik Bryland of IES Lund came joint eighth, Kian Esfandiari of IES Uppsala came 13th and Vidar Gustafsson of IES Nacka came joint 17th.
The competition is open to anyone attending compulsory school and tests students’ logical thinking, problem solving, and ability to express themselves in mathematical language.
Speaking after his victory, David said: “This was my third time in the contest. In year seven I reached the finals, in year eight I came fourth, and now in year nine I won. In earlier years I found algebra and geometry hard, but this time I was only one point away from a full score.
"I was so happy to have won, they list the winners from the bottom to the top, so I realised I had probably won when they gave the award to the person who came second, but I didn’t know for sure. My mother was the happiest person, maybe even happier than me, because she has been the person really pushing me to do maths, which is a positive thing.”
David has enjoyed mathematics ever since he was a small child and has always been keen to see how far he could go.
He said: "I have been interested in maths for a very long time. In kindergarten I liked counting, and in year one, two and three I always wanted an extra challenge; so in year three I could go up to year four and do their maths.
“This year, so far, I have taken one gymnasiet maths course and I am now taking the next one. So I can start with maths 3C right away when I get to gymnasiet. Maybe I can do university mathematics during year three of gymnasiet, and maybe I can take other courses at gymnasiet as well."
“Competitions like this provide a challenge for the better students. For students who need the challenge it is great that this exists. It shows the top students that they can compete with others, you can show that you are really at the top. It can give an extra motivation to do maths. Maybe I don’t need more motivation, but it is still fun to know that this competition exists.”
The head of maths for IES Uppsala, Mr Hedgepeth, added: “I think that David is a prime example of perseverance, work ethic and growth mindset. He has become more confident and more humble with his mathematics, he understands he has a real skill. If he fails he looks at it is a need to find another way, so he views failure as one step closer to the solution.
"He is good, he keeps you on your toes as a teacher. It might sound odd to say, but I like it on the rare occasions he makes a mistake because then I get to teach him something. He watches me in class as well, he is always quick to point out any small mistakes especially with the lengths of my triangles."
David and other mathematicians at IES Uppsala are now preparing for their next challenge, the Pythagoras Quest competition, which will run during the spring term.