Hungarian mathematics delegation visit SUSTech
Chris Edwards | 11/24/2019

From November 17 to 23, a delegation of mathematics teachers from the Pál Erdős Mathematical Talent Care Center in Hungary visited Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech). The delegation came to get to know the educational model of SUSTech and explore various opportunities for collaboration in areas related to mathematics talent cultivation, international student recruitment, and promotion of SUSTech within Hungary, the first European nation to sign up for the Belt and Road Initiative.

Across the week, the delegates met several times with representatives of the Department of Mathematics, including Chair Professor Wang Xiaoming, Professor Li Jingzhi, Professor Jana Hertz and Dr. Chen Yimao. They held discussions on mathematical talent training both at SUSTech and in Hungary, the relative merits of academia in China and in other countries, and the benefits of a SUSTech education for international students.

Dr. Peter Juhász lecture

Dr. Peter Juhász, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, delivered a lecture on the history of mathematics talent training in Hungary and the methods employed by Pál Erdős Mathematical Talent Care Center in preparing students to participate in Mathematical Olympiad competitions. He outlined the remarkable success of Hungarians in international math contests, where the country ranks fourth in the world behind the much more populous nations of China, the US, and Russia, despite its population of just under 10 million people, similar to that of Hainan Province.

Dr. Juhász also held a ‘Mathematical Problem-Solving Seminar’ for interested students in which he utilized the Pál Erdős Mathematical Talent Care Center’s problem-based methodology to teach advanced mathematical concepts. Students tackled the problems head-on, and worked through proposed solutions led by Dr. Juhász as a class, pursuing different lines of thought and examining the theory behind them.

Visits to the Cryo-Electron Microscopy Center, the Institute of Robotics, the Cultural Heritage and the Imagination Center provided the delegation with a snapshot of the cutting-edge research taking place with SUSTech. The delegation was particularly impressed by the knowledge of the student representatives acting as guides at the Institute of Robotics, praising their ability to convey complex scientific information in English.

SUSTech’s student Calligraphy and Painting Club laid on an introductory calligraphy class to teach the visitors a few simple Chinese characters, words and numbers. The delegation also received a gift of their Hungarian names written in a Chinese calligraphy style from the club members. The informal atmosphere of the Zhiren College Activity Room allowed participants to appreciate this classic Chinese art form and brought them closer to the beauty of the Chinese language.

Calligraphy class

The delegation visited a selection of Shenzhen’s characteristic scenic spots including the Civic Center and Lianhuashan Park, Talent Park, Dongmen Avenue and Gankeng, a Hakka village in northern Shenzhen. They were greatly impressed by the rapid development of Shenzhen and its reformative role in China’s recent history. The city’s abundant resources, talent cultivation plans, and commitment to research and development in the new era were all remarked on, with members of the delegation remarking on their surprise at the phenomenal speed of life in the Greater Bay Area.

Pál Erdős Mathematical Talent Care Center was founded in 2001 by the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Pannonia. It was introduced to rectify the decreasing interest in technology and science that compromises the future development of Hungary. Six times every year, a dedicated team of the best math teachers in the country gather to train elite high school students in preparation for National and International Mathematical Olympiads. The curriculum is developed around group and individual-based problem solving to emphasize teamwork and creativity in approaches to mathematical problems.

2019, 11-24
By Chris Edwards

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