Emerging talents meet the world’s leading mathematicians

What advice would the 2024 Abel Prize winner give to his younger self? During the Abel Week, young, aspiring mathematicians get the chance to receive this advice from Michel Talagrand himself.

Some of the young talents who attended the Abel Prize ceremony in 2023. Photo: Eirik Lislerud

As in previous years, emerging talents aged 15 to 19 are invited to take part in the celebration of mathematics during the Abel Week. The events take place in Oslo on May 20th-23rd and continue with The Abel Day in Stavanger on May 24th. This year's Abel Prize winner, Michel Talagrand from France, is the star everyone wants to meet, but the attendees will also get the chance to learn from several of the world's leading mathematicians, including international lecturers and the members of the Abel Committee.

At the event Advice to Young Mathematicians, the budding future of mathematics get to meet their role models at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters’ house. As the title suggests, the successful mathematicians will share their experiences and offer advice they wish they themselves had been given at the start of their careers.

The young talents are also invited to the Abel lectures, the Abel Party and the Abel Prize ceremony, where Michel Talagrand will receive the award from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon. On Thursday May 23rd, the last event on the program will be the presentation of the Holmboe prize, which is awarded annually to a teacher that teaches mathematics in primary school or at upper secondary level. This year the Norwegian Mathematics Council has awarded the prize to Pål Harald Hansen from Sør-Varanger, a small town located as far northeast as you can get in Norway, close to the Russian border.

The hope is that both the academic input and the social events during the four spring days in Oslo will inspire the young students to pursue mathematics.

Group photo of youth attending Abel Week 2023, here at the Abel Monument in the Royal Palace Grounds.
Young talents attending the wreath laying ceremony at the Abel Monument, The Royal Palace Grounds, in 2023. Photo: Eirik Lislerud

The best in their age group
The visiting youth have all won various mathematics competitions, and participation in the exclusive program of the Abel Week is part of the reward.

The four youngest participants are Runa M. Eltoft, Freja Aars, Loudon McCutcheon and Felix Dzur from Tromsø International School, who will be attending along with teacher Emil Sundal. They are this year's winning team from UngeAbel (YoungAbel), a mathematics competition for students in 9th grade (secondary school), organized by the National Association for Mathematics in Schools (LAMIS).

From the Abel competition, which is organized by the Norwegian Mathematical Association, the six top candidates will attend: David Strømme Eikeland from Sandnes, who won the competition, followed by Aksel Løvholt from Oslo, Ivar Lee Fevang from Trondheim, Torstein Barvik Molstad from Gran, Magnus Flydal Jenstad from Nadderud and Justin Jia from Oslo. They have outperformed nearly 3,200 other students from secondary and upper secondary schools in Norway. The three on top of the list have already qualified to represent Norway in the International Mathematical Olympiad for students under the age of 20, while the other three will participate in a new round of qualifications in the Nordic Mathematical Contest.

For the first time, youth from France will be travelling to Oslo to participate in the Abel Week this year. The six French students are the top contestants in the French Olympic Mathematical Preparation, and thus will represent their country in the mathematics Olympics, which will be take place in Bath, Great Britain, this July. As usual, the winning team from the Tag der Mathematik competition in Germany will also come to Oslo.

The Abel Day in Stavanger
Michel Talagrand will travel on to Stavanger to attend the Abel Day on Friday May 24th. There local groups of children and young people will get the chance to be inspired by one of the world's sharpest mathematicians.

One of the main tasks defined in the statutes of the Abel Prize is to stimulate the mathematical interest among children and young people. 

Abelkonkurransen (The Niels Henrik Abel's mathematical competition) was started in 1981 and is run by Norsk matematisk forening (The Norwegian Mathematical Assosiation) in cooperation with The Institute for Mathematics at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and Matematikksenteret (The Mathematics Center). The competition is partly funded by The Abel Prize and The Norwegian Research Council.

UngeAbel (YoungAbel) is a competition run by the National Association for Mathematics in Schools (LAMIS) in cooperation with Matematikksenteret (The Mathematics Center) and Nordic Math Class Competition (NMCC). The competition is partly funded by The Abel Prize and The Norwegian Research Council.

See further details here