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This site is a history of the Australian Mathematics Trust from its roots back in the early 1970s until my retirement as its Executive Director at the end of 2012 or in some cases like IOI 2013 on commitments based on my employment shortly after retirement and into 2013. It is based on my recollections, records, research and feedback.

My first experience leading up to the establishment of the Trust was in 1972 when I met Peter O'Halloran as a colleague on starting an academic career at what is now the University of Canberra, after having just finished my PhD at the University of Adelaide and being appointed an Assistant Lecturer at the Canberra College of Advanced Education. The Trust was formally started as a merger between the Australian Mathematics Foundation Limited and Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee in 1992. The first meeting of the Board was held on 14 October of that year. Peter O'Halloran, the founder, and original Executive Director, passed away in September 1994.

I also have a personal web site here.

I have already had this site moderated by some of my colleagues. Of course being a google site, you are invited to present your own comments at the foot of each page or email directly comments to me at pjt013(at)gmail.com.

In retirement I have researched to add a lot of new information here that I didn't have while managing the AMT site. This includes much more work on early influences, reasons for early people getting BH Neumann awards and other similar information generally, and corrects minor errors.

A Note on the Trust's Aims

I should note here that the Trust (or its predecessors) was founded explicitly in response to a need to add value to the school learning experience, not to replicate it nor write texts nor provide instruction within the curriculum. Certainly in the Australian Mathematics Competition, the questions were always moderated to ensure that as much as possible the mathematics needed in order to solve a problem was within classroom curriculum, but the problems might be set in contexts which may be quite new to the student, and designed to test the student's ability to adapt to that situation (as we all have to do in everyday life). So an event like the AMC might identify different students than those who stand out in the confines of normal testing, and include those who might have greater creative ability and who may develop positively given the right circumstances.

The AMC, despite careful checking of formal syllabus content, is a true competition rather than a test, in that it can be a major part of classroom preparation beforehand, and provide rich material for classroom discussion, on the judgement of the teacher, in the weeks following. This process is also commonly referred to as mathematical enrichment, and it has been our expectation that students given the opportunity to participate in the AMC, will be better students afterwards.

Of course the Olympiad programs do give those students who have demonstrated higher ability, or who wish to participate further on their own initiative, the opportunity to greatly broaden their mathematical knowledge beyond the syllabus without needing to go to a higher class to avoid boredom. In fact our normal experience was that our most advanced students did not accelerate and stayed within their age groups. Mathematics is a vast subject, and the AMT provides the opportunity for students to enhance their range of systematic knowledge, and develop their problem solving skills, in such a way that they are able to handle, enabling their enhancement later to study at University or be useful in employment.

Peter Taylor
Executive Director of AMT 1994 to 2012 and 1976 foundation organiser of AMC

© 2013 Peter James Taylor

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