Getting pupils interested
Inria's researchers have met over 700 pupils at the lectures they have given at secondary schools or during the Mathematical Olympiad awards ceremony or the training courses held as part of the "Pépinière de mathématiques".
Each time, the aim is to get pupils interested, to arouse their curiosity and even inspire them to embark upon a career in a related discipline. The basic idea is to explain how the real or virtual objects that are part of the pupils' everyday lives work, and to study the questions they raise and the underlying computer-related or mathematical concepts.
As part of the partnership with the educational authorities, Inria's two Ile-de-France centres are partners to the three educational districts in the Mathematical Olympiad, a partnership which has seen researchers speak at the associated award ceremonies.
In 2010, Inria awarded 67 prizes in the Île-de-France region.
At a time when young people seem to be taking little interest in scientific disciplines, we should celebrate the increase in the number of candidates taking part in the Mathematical Olympiad. In their tenth year, the Olympiads for 17-year-olds attracted a record number of participants, with 1,627 entries from the Versailles educational district, 490 from Créteil and 390 from Paris, giving a total of over 2,500 pupils.
Throughout May, the educational districts of the Île-de-France region held prize-giving ceremonies. In 2010, there were 35 prize winners in Créteil, 24 in Versailles and 8 in Paris, with identical prize-giving ceremonies in each district, beginning with a scientific talk before rounding off the afternoon with the presentation of the prizes.
On 9 June, the best of the region's prize winners were rewarded at the National Olympiad, in which Inria is also a partner.
This period of prize-giving ended at Rocquencourt in June with a special awards ceremony for the Olympiad for 14 year-olds, which only exists in the Versailles educational district.
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