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Pranjal Srivastava is the first Indian to win 3 gold medals at International Mathematical Olympiad

Pranjal Srivastava's name appears in the International Informatics Olympiad hall-of-fame as only 11 people in the 63-year history of IMO have won more medals than him.

Written by Deeksha Teri | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2022 5:55:03 pm
Pranjal Srivastava, IMO winnerOnly 11 people in the 63-year history of IMO have won more medals than him. (Photo: special arrangement)

Indian students have been bringing laurels to the nation by winning the international Olympiads, especially in these recent years. The latest addition to this league is 18-year-old Pranjal Srivastava who is the first Indian to win three gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Oslo on July 11 and 12, 2022.

Pranjal’s name appears in the IMO hall-of-fame, as only 11 people in the 63-year history of IMO have won more medals than him.

“My family noticed my inclination towards maths right from class 1. Not just did I get to read the most interesting books on this subject but

also had a lot of fun conversations about it. My father told me interesting stories, while my mother and grandfather would tell me about the beauty of math in geometry,” he told indianexpress.com. Srivastava’s parents are IT professionals and are working in Bengaluru.

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Pranjal Srivastava, IMO winner The Indian team with their medals and flag after the medal ceremony. A total of five Indian students bagged the bronze medal. (Photo: Special arrangement)

Pranjal won this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad with a total of 34. He achieved the gold medal first in 2019 scoring 35, then in 2021 with a score of 31. India did not participate in IMO in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. His winning streak started in 2018 when he earned a silver medal.

Now that he has become a seasoned participant, the champion does not need to put in hours in the traditional form of studies now. He has inculcated his love of mathematics in several of his daily activities. In addition to his normal routine, he is now a part of many forums, clubs, and organisations which helps him stay updated and practice while ensuring he has his share of fun.

While maths is a nightmare for many students, the Bengaluru boy believes it is the most amazing subject. “There is a myth that discourages most students. They feel Math is about big numbers and complex calculations. This is misleading. The teaching methods, unfortunately, do not help either. Calculations may be necessary for succeeding in many entrance exams, but they are a minuscule part of mathematics. Some of the greatest mathematicians, including Einstein, have been poor in calculations,” he said while talking about his love for the subject.

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“Math, in general, is beautiful. It is about number theory, patterns, and geometrical shapes. These are wonderful to explore. Young students should step out of school mathematics, try interesting books, and solve creative problems. At a young age, I was influenced by some books by Prof Ian Stewart,” said the 18-year-old champion.

In addition to mathematics, Pranjal also loves competitive and algorithmic programming, and has also earned a silver medal in the International Informatics Olympiad. He even wishes to explore mathematical computer science in his undergraduate days. He will now be pursuing an undergraduate course at MIT, which will give him a combination of Math and computer science.

Pranjal also loves Chess and the strategic game of GO. He has also represented India in the 2021 South Korea Prime Minister Cup. In addition to these, he has learned Indian Classical formally and has a strong inclination toward classical music, both Indian and Western.

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The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country. While the first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, the 2022 IMO took place in Oslo. This year, while Pranjal won the gold medal, five other Indian candidates bagged the bronze medal — Arjun Gupta, Atul Shatavart Nadig, Vedant Saini, Kaustuv Mishra and Aditya.

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First published on: 28-07-2022 at 05:02:22 pm

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