Perfect score in world ‘Maths Olympics’ for Scots teenage genius

Agnijo Banerjee scored 42 out of 42 in the four-and-half hour long competition at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Picture: contributed
Agnijo Banerjee scored 42 out of 42 in the four-and-half hour long competition at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Picture: contributed
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It all started when he was a pre-schooler, outstripping his parents and running rings round them when they started teaching their inquisitive young son his numbers.

Now 17-year-old Agnijo Banerjee, who has just finished at Grove Academy in Dundee, has won a gold medal and been ranked number one at the international “Maths Olympics” for high school pupils.

Agnijo achieved a perfect score of 42 out of 42 in the four-and-half hour long competition at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), regarded as one of the most prestigious maths competitions in the world.

He was one of only two out of 594 contestants from more than 100 countries to get a perfect score at the 59th IMO in Clu-Napoca, Romania, This is the UK’s first perfect score at the IMO in 24 years. Dr Subhayu Bandyopadhyay, Agnijo’s father, from Broughty Ferry, Dundee, said his son, the only Scottish representative in the UK team of six, and the only to win gold, owed a lot to the efforts of staff at Grove Academy. One of the very best things which happened in my son’s life was going to Grove Academy.

“It’s a state school and the teachers did everything they could with limited resources to help him. My son is incredibly hard-working but without the school he couldn’t have achieved this.”

Dr Bandyopadhyay, a consultant at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, said his son, who has a younger brother Aaryan, aged 12, returns to Scotland today.

Recalling Agnijo’s early school years, he said: “Agnijo started showing signs of having a natural talent before he went to primary school. He picked everything up so quickly. Then the teachers at this first school, Woodhill primary in Bishopbriggs in Glasgow told my wife and me ‘you’ve got a gifted son’ when he was in primary one.

“We noticed he had a photographic memory and when he went on to attend Forthill primary in Dundee the teachers began to run out of ideas on how to deal with it.

“One day when he was bored during the summer holidays we telephoned David Darling, a science writer who has a degree in physics and a PhD in astronomy as Agnijo needed someone at his own level to do maths with. They went on to write and publish ‘Weird Maths.”

Audrey May, chief education officer for Dundee City Council, said: “This is an amazing achievement and we are all immensely proud of Agnijo.”

Anijo plans to study maths at Trinity College, Cambridge.