MathsBombe is a new competition aimed at school pupils studying mathematics at either A-level for Scottish Highers. However, no knowledge of any of the A-level mathematics syllabus is required, so the competition is also accessible to GCSE-level students. The competition is open to all students up to and including Year 13 (England and Wales), up to and including S6 (Scotland) and up to and including Year 14 (Northern Ireland).
The competition runs from Wednesday 29 January to Wednesday 25 March. Every two weeks, a new 'puzzle set' is released on Wednesdays at 4pm. Each puzzle set comprises two mathematical puzzles. Thus there are 8 mathematical puzzles forming the competition. The puzzles do not need any sophisticated mathematics to solve, nor do they require the use of computers. Instead, logical thought and puzzle-solving abilities are all that is required. Students can earn points for the leaderboard by submitting the correct solution to each puzzle as soon as they have found it. The solutions will be released on Wednesday 11 March.
Starting from 2019, teachers must now register first, to allow their pupils to access the competition (teachers provide their pupils with a code that allows them to register and links them to the school). Due to data protection legislation we no longer store any personal information relating to students (such as their real name), and we store only their anonymous user name. Teachers will be notified when one of their pupils registers with an email, which gives both the username and real name of the pupil. It is important that teachers retain this information for the duration of the competition, so that they can allocate prizes to the correct pupils. Please be aware that prizes will be sent to the nominated teacher for the teacher to distribute to the winning team members.
Pupils should form teams of between 1 and 4 people. They can register their team here (registration opens on Monday 2 December). We firmly believe that solving the puzzles should be done collaboratively within each team and that team-work is an important part of mathematics!
There are prizes (Amazon gift vouchers) awarded at various stages in the competition. These are: £15 gift vouchers per team member for the first team to solve each puzzle set, and up to three £10 gift vouchers per team member `spot' prizes for teams who correctly solve each puzzle set within the first two weeks of its scheduled release. At the end of the competition, the top three teams on the leaderboard will win £30, £25, £20 gift vouchers per team member; and their schools or colleges will receive a trophy.
When registering, each team is asked to supply the contact details of a teacher at their school or college. This is so we can keep in contact with the schools and colleges who enter the competition, including notifying the prize-winners. Please be aware that prizes will be sent to the nominated teacher for the teacher to distribute to the winning team members.
If your school or college has a mathematics club or society then the competition would make an ideal activity for them.
MathsBombe is organised by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Manchester. You may also be interested in the sister competition, the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition. The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is open to students in school years up to and including Year 11 (England & Wales), S4 (Scotland), Year 12 (Northern Ireland).