Journey to National Mathematical Camp
(This post was first published in local news, it was then published here with the permission of the author, Ragib Farhad Hossain)
Bangladesh National Mathematical Camp is the most prestigious camp in Bangladesh where a fraction of the best and brightest students of the country battle it out for a place in the Bangladesh National Mathematical team which participates at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).
National Mathematical Camp: Where it all started
It all starts at the Regional Mathematical Olympiad where the country is divided in 24 regions. participated at the Dhaka Regional Mathematical Olympiad 2015 which took place at Dhaka Residential Model School and College on 16 January 2015. The winners of all the regional competitions achieve the opportunity to show their skills at the Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad. Outstanding performers of this stage are called for the Bangladesh National Mathematical Camp.
I ensured a 1st runner-up position in the secondary category at the Dhaka Regional Mathematical Olympiad. The Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad 2015 was held at the St. Joseph Higher Secondary School on 6 March 2015. It was supposed to be held on 6-7 February 2015 but it got postponed due to the political turmoil. But the bright side of this was that 6 March is my birthday and ensured my second consecutive silver medal at the Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad this year.
When I was called for the Bangladesh National Mathematical Camp, I was a bit confused that whether should pursue it or not since less than two weeks before that on 23 February 2015 accidentally injured my right hand and was given 9 stitches for the cure. So I was still in the recovery process when I was called up for the camp. But I decided to go to the camp.
On the afternoon of 13 March 2015, accompanied by my parents went to check in the camp. After checking in, it was time to select the room. Coincidentally, 2 out of 3 of my roommates were my roommates in the junior math camp 2014.
After the evening snacks were over, it was time for the introductory class. Our full time trainers for
this camp Were Masum Billal and Nur Mohammad Shafiullah. Nur Mohammad Shafiullah is a former member of the Bangladesh National Mathematical team who has achieved one silver and two bronze medals at the IMO. I discovered one more thing that I was the only English Medium student in the camp this year.
The next day started with the Geometry class. Different fundamental geometrical theorems and lemmas were taught. But the most interesting geometry class was on the third day, when Projective Geometry was taught; this is one of the most daunting yet exciting tools used in geometrical problem solving.
The most enjoyable thing about camp is that we sometimes had our conversations in mathematical terms. For example, one night, 7-8 of us were enjoying our leisure time, suddenly a boy named Sakib said, “Look guys, Joy and Prosenjit’ and “Ratul and Mehedi’ are collinear!” replied, “And you are the concurrent point,” and we all exploded into laughters. Do you get the fun?
On the sixth day of the camp, I was finally able to solve a math problem. Any other time, I would have got frustrated. But in the camp, knew that my opportunity will come. All I had to do was to be ready to grab that opportunity.
Another class that excited me was the combinatorics class on Graph Theory. This is a very interesting and useful tool for combinatory problem solving. The Combinatorial Geometry class was also very remarkable.
The certificate awarding ceremony was held on 22nd march afternoon. Prof. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Prof. Abdul Quayum, Munir Hasan and some other national personalities were present. I received my certificate from Prof. Abdul Quayum.
During the last three days, I had to sit for FIVE 4-hours 30-minutes long exam. On the evening of 21st March was the Geometry exam. The next day morning was the Number Theory exam and in evening, we had our first mock exam. And on the final day morning was the second mock exam and in evening, the exams ended with Combinatorics exam. Trust me when I say, it is very difficult for a beginner to keep his brain running and keep fighting for 9 hours a day for two consecutive days. But this is the National Mathematical Camp; you have to keep your game up to cement your position.
The Real Fun
The real fun started after the exams. One boy named Tanjeem treated us with chicken fries from KFC. Then the grand dinner had biryani, chicken curry, mutton curry, vegetable mix, salad and cold drinks in its menu. I am not known for eating too much, in fact, when it comes downto eating foods, |am regarded as a person who eats less than his daily requirements. But even late up two full plates of biryani, first with chicken curry and then with mutton curry.
After the grand dinner, we enjoyed the animated movie “Big Hero 6. Since it was the last day of the camp, we were up all night. Sometimes we sang songs, or played ‘truth and dare’ games or just did whatever came to our minds. But it was overall, a very enjoyable night. I went to sleep at 6am on the morning of 24th March; but got up at 8am, packed my belongings and came back home after the 11-day long camp.
After came back home, slept the whole day since was up for 22 hours the previous day. Even that wasn’t enough, because for 11 days, I regularly attempted to solve brain-twisting mathematical problems 10-14 hours a day and slept for only 3-5 hours. I was still very drowsy when l attended school the next day. But luckily, 26th March was on Thursday, followed by Friday and Saturday. I slept for 8-11 hours a day on these three days and then I was back to normal.
In short, math camp is a place where you get tested in the toughest way possible. The competition is huge and intense and it keeps coming at you. And of course, you have no idea who is going to strike when, as all the campers are the best on their day. But this experience has made me stronger and hungrier than before. Because when you fight the bests of your kind, you are bound to re-discover yourself.
After reading this article, you might be wondering why I wrote this. I have seen passion for mathematics among many Semsians, and some of them have what it takes to be the best. It has motivated me to write this because in future, if Semsians attend a math camp, they will have at least some ideas about where they are stepping in. Best wishes to all my fellow Semsians, hopefully in future you will take BAFSEMS to a height that we cannot imagine right now.
Ragib Farhat Hasan
Roll-01 (The first Semsian to attend any BDMO math camp)