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Mathematicians excelled in the 2012 Viksu science competition

(19 Mar 2013)

The 2012 winners of the Academy of Finland’s science competition for upper secondary school students, Viksu, have been announced. The 1st prize in the national category went to Joni Teräväinen (Maunulan yhteiskoulu/Helsingin matematiikkalukio) for his entry in the field of number theory. Joni’s work was praised for its exceptionally high standard in terms of mathematics. According to the reviewers, the work has called for remarkable mathematical maturity, a thorough understanding of number theory and a command of methods. In the international (IB) category, the winner was Jiali Yan (Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu) with an entry in the field of mathematical biology. The reviewers pointed out that the selection of an open problem as the starting point for the work shows strong ambition, and its non-trivial solution is a perplexing achievement from an upper secondary student. Jiali’s work thus reveals her exceptional talent. Both winners will be awarded 4,000 euros.

The Academy of Finland’s science competition Viksu was arranged for the fifteenth time. Through the competition, the Academy wants to provide students at upper secondary schools with an opportunity to acquaint themselves with scientific research in practice and as a profession. Students can participate by submitting an entry within any subject taught at upper secondary schools.

The Viksu winners received their prizes from Mr Jukka Gustafsson, Minister of Education and Science, and Professor Marja Makarow, Vice President for Research of the Academy of Finland, at an award ceremony on Tuesday 19 March 2013 at 16.30. Awards were presented to a total of 15 students, six schools and one teacher. The total prize amount is 30,000 euros.

Winners in the national category

1st prize: Joni Teräväinen (18) from Maunulan yhteiskoulu/Helsingin matematiikkalukio upper secondary school. Joni studied Diophantine equations, which are a classical part of analytic number theory.

2nd prize: Silja Sormunen (18) from Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu upper secondary school. Silja analysed the relationship between art and language in the works of novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.

3rd prize: Kerttu Uusimäki (18) from Valkeakosken Tietotien lukio/Päivölän matematiikkalinja upper secondary school.  Kerttu created a Markov model for estimating the progress of disease and probabilities of recovery in anorectic persons, as well as the efficacy of various treatments and preventive measures. Kerttu will also be presented with the Health 2012 theme award (EUR 1,000) for the best health education entry in this competition round.

4th prize: Neea Palojärvi (18) from Valkeakosken Tietotien lukio/Päivölän matematiikkalinja upper secondary school. Neea developed a mathematical model for testing, on the basis of its floor plan, the suitability of a specific apartment or house for wheelchair users.

5th prize: Otte Heinävaara (19) from Maunulan yhteiskoulu/Helsingin matematiikkalukio upper secondary school. Otte presented a new square power iteration method that can be used for solving polynomial equations with complex coefficients.

6th prize: Johanna Rantanen (18) and Yen Mai (18) from Valkeakosken Tietotien lukio/matematiikkalinja upper secondary school. Johanna and Yen compared the effects of different note-taking methods (writing by hand or typing on computer) on learning.

7th prize: Juho Iipponen (18) from Tikkurilan lukio upper secondary school. Juho analysed changes in the quality of water in Keravanjoki River as the river water passes through field or forest areas.

Winners in the international (IB) category

1st prize: Jiali Yan (19) from Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu upper secondary school. Jiali proved that the mathematical Nicholson-Bailey model has no non-trivial four-step periodic orbits.

2nd prize: Anni Piirainen (19) from Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu upper secondary school. Anni analysed the effects of industrialisation and urbanisation on the formation and emergence of Quebec’s national identity in the 1950s.

3rd prize: Sofia Mononen (19) from Ressun lukio upper secondary school. Sofia examined the potential of Himalayan balsam (Impatiens Glandulifera) to emit harmful chemicals into its environment and thereby damage other plants, such as white clover (Trifolium repens).

4th prize: Erika Noponen (18) from Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu upper secondary school. Erika studied the impact of the increase in the landfill tax on the waste ash market in Finland.

5th prize: Laura Levänen (19) from Tampereen lyseon lukio upper secondary school. Laura investigated the effects of the blade pitch angle on the power production of a wind turbine.

6th prize: Laura Kolehmainen (19) from Tikkurilan lukio upper secondary school. Laura examined the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935–1936 and why the other states in the League of Nations allowed it.

7th prize: Jamie McDonald (17) from Mattlidens gymnasium upper secondary school. Jamie studied the influence of Mulberry harbour testing on local residents in Garlieston, Scotland, between 1942 and the Invasion of Normandy.

Prize-winning schools and teachers

Prizes to active and successful schools were awarded to Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu and Valkeakosken Tietotien lukio/Päivölän matematiikkalinja. The schools received 1,000 euros each. Jyväskylän Normaalikoulun lukio, Porin suomalaisen yhteiskoulun lukio, Karhulan lukio and Ivalon lukio received 1,000 euros each for active participation. The inspiring teacher award (EUR 1,000) went to Jarmo Kuivalainen, who teaches history and social studies at Joensuun Lyseon lukio.

Viksu offers practical experience in research

Altogether 139 entries from 31 upper secondary schools were submitted to the 2012 Viksu competition. A total of 153 students participated, including those submitting entries in pairs or groups. Of the participants, 101 were girls and 52 boys. The majority of entries were in history, mother tongue and literature, psychology, economics and mathematics. In this round, 45 entries were submitted in the national category and 94 in the international (IB) category. Of the entries, 81 were written in English, 53 in Finnish and 5 in Swedish.

Photos of the winners

The group photos of the winners will be available on 19 March as of 19.00 on our website at www.aka.fi/en-GB/A/Academy-of-Finland/Media-services/Photo-gallery > Go to photo gallery (search by ‘viksu’). Individual photos will be available on 22 March on the same page (search by ‘viksu’ or the winner’s surname).

More information:

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Terhi Loukiainen
tel. +358 29 533 5068
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

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