School Mathematicians Tackle Goldbach's Conjecture

Fri, 2000-11-24 00:00

Goldbach's conjecture is one of the oldest unsolved problems in number theory and all of mathematics.

In 1792 German mathematician Christian Goldbach wrote a letter to Leonhard Euler in which he proposed the following conjecture: Every integer which can be written as the sum of two primes, can also be written as the sum of as many primes as one wishes, until all terms are units.

Teams from a number of East Durham schools grappled with the concept at the annual East Durham Schools Maths Challenge.

The event, which took place on Wednesday 6th April in The Lubetkin Theatre at East Durham College’s Peterlee Campus, saw 8 teams competing for top honours in the competition.

The teams came from St. Bedes, Easington Community, Shotton Hall and Wellfield Community secondary schools.

The Year 9, 10 and 11 students took part in 7 fiercely competed rounds, which included a mix of maths questions and problem solving tasks – as well as Goldbach's conjecture.

The scores were nip and tuck all the way, but eventually Shotton Hall School’s A-Team prevailed with a winning score of 34 points. The runners up, only 1 point behind, were Wellfield’s B-Team with 33.

The winning team of Jake Lee, Liam Willis, Zoe Brown and Louise Wardle were delighted to retain the trophy. Jake Lee added: “we’re over the moon with the success we’ve had, we just scraped it, the competition was very close.”

Fred Harrison, Assistant Principal at East Durham College, who runs the challenge, said: “The Maths Challenge is a great way to help instil the spirit of completion and teamwork. I’m delighted with the way all the students threw themselves in to it and was impressed with their academic knowledge and ability to use their initiative”.