problems drawn from geometry, number theory, algebra and combinatorics. Each problem is worth seven points and participants can score up to 42 points. Appendix A provides additional information on IMOproblems, including two examples. Medals are awarded based solely on the sum of points collected across problems. Slightly fewer than half of the participants receive medals, which are gold, silver or bronze. An “honourable mention” recognizing a perfect solution to one problem has been awarded out to non-medalists since 1987.
Several IMO participants are known to have
The advancement of the knowledge frontier is crucial for technological innovation and human progress. Using novel data from the setting of mathematics, this paper establishes two results. First, we document that individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent in their teenage years have an irreplaceable ability to create new ideas over their lifetime, suggesting that talent is a central ingredient in the production of knowledge. Second, such talented individuals born in low- or middle-income countries are systematically less likely to become knowledge producers. Our findings suggest that policies to encourage exceptionally-talented youth to pursue scientific careers—especially those from lower income countries—could accelerate the advancement of the knowledge frontier.