The Davidson Institute of Science Education

Training Israel’s Team to the International Mathematical Olympiad

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Intensive training starts today at the Davidson Institute of Science Education. To raise the achievements of the Israeli team, the Ministry of Education has given the task of selecting the team and training its members to the Davidson Institute of Science Education, the educational arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science. As of today, preparations for the Olympiad, scheduled for July 2011, are entering an accelerated phase.

Low rankings for the Israeli teams competing in the annual International Mathematical Olympiad in recent years led the Ministry of Education to seek a new approach to preparing and training the team. After a lengthy process in which proposals from a number of bodies and organizations were considered, the Davidson Institute of Science Education was asked to carry out an innovative new program. Dr. Yaakov Lavie of the Davidson Institute heads the new math training program. Working with him is a staff of high-level professional trainers headed by Lev Radzivilovsky, who will receive additional advice and assistance from Weizmann Institute scientists.
The candidate selection and preparation process began with a nation-wide mathematics test given by the Science and Technology Division of the Ministry of Education to 4,000 outstanding high-school students. In the next step, the 350 highest scorers were invited to participate in the Prof. Joseph Gillis National Math Olympiad, held at the Weizmann Institute. Of these, 30 are now entering the next stages of training, provided by the Davidson Institute.

Each of the 30 vying for a place on the team will have a personalized, online learning program designed for him, or her alone, including individual tutoring and guidance sessions.

Along with the individual work, the students will participate in a five-day sleep-over training camp in February at the Laub International Youth Village on the Weizmann campus. Here, they will take part in intensive ‘workouts’ led by Davidson Institute staff trained by Radzivilovsky, as well as sessions with members of the Weizmann Institute’s Mathematics Department. A second training camp will be held over the Pesach vacation, at which point 15 of the 30 will be invited to continue. At a third camp to be held in June, the most outstanding seven students will be chosen to make up the Israeli team to the international competition, to be held in Holland in July.
Lavie: ‘At the Davidson Institute of Science Education, we don’t take shortcuts. We believe in hard work and perseverance, but also in giving the individual attention that will bring out the best effort in each member of the team. Thanks to the intensive, personalized training program, we expect to turn things around and raise Israel’s standing in the international mathematics rankings.’
Dr. Ariel Heimann, Director of the Davidson Institute of Science Education: ‘Success in the Mathematical Olympiad is not important to us just because we want to win competitions. We hope it will bring the issue of math education to the fore in Israel. Math is the foundation of all the sciences, and these are crucial for the country, socially, intellectually and economically.’
For more information or photos, please contact the Weizmann Institute Publications and Media Relations Department: Tel. 08-934-3856 or email