Mathematics plays a crucial role in modern science and engineering as the lingua franca to describe quantifiable phenomena. Hence it is of great importance to ”speak that language fluently“ for forthcoming promotion and success in any profession that is in contact with science and engineering.
But it is not only important individually to promote talents in that area. Without such expertize it also will be impossible to access and utilize the fruits of modern science and engineering with benefits for the regional development in a proper way.
We offer to mathematically interested and gifted children different forms to come together and be engaged with mathematics. Our offers address mainly high school students in grade 5 to 12 in the Leipzig region.
Our main activity are seminars that regularly take place in the university and are conducted by students and faculty of the Math. Department. We are running seminars for pupils from grade 5 to grade 12 with more than 100 participants and, in a slightly other form, also seminars for younger children (grade 2 to 4).
We start these activities with an Opening Ceremony at the beginning of the academic year where we invite our participants, parents and teachers. There we present a short record of our activities in the last academic year, have a keynote lecture delivered by one of Leipzig's mathematical authorities to our students and start the current activities.
To interested pupils that cannot come to our reference meetings we send regularly letters with course material and exercises subdivided by grade. The participants prepare answers and send them back. The tutor prepares sample solutions and remarks to the participants' solutions that are sent back and discussed in 3 or 4 presence meetings during the academic year. Such a service we offer for grade 5 to 8. A similar service for students in grade 9 to 12 in all parts of Saxonia is offered by colleagues in Chemnitz.
Anually during the summer holiday time we offer a Special Summer Camp with mathematical training (about 3 hours per day). The camp addresses mathematically interested children between grade 5 and 12 and is regularly attended by about 100 children from Saxonia and Thuringia each year. For more than 10 years we organize this camp in Ilmenau in cooperation with the Ilmenau Technical University and colleagues from Thuringia. Attendees are enthusiastic about these camps especially for the fact that they meet friends with similar interests and can pursue these interests in a much more natural atmosphere than at their home school environment.
Additionally, for students in grade 9 to 12 we organize seminal weeks and seminal weekends (once per academic year for about 20 participants) with a more academic character. There we present lectures and have discussions at an advanced mathematical level and deliver introductory lessons to higher mathematics.
Some minor activities are grouped around our internet presentation. Both participants and tutors there find regular and up to date information (of course in german) about our activities. For children in grade 5 and 6 we offer a monthly problem. Solutions can be sent by the school teacher to the Problems Advisors and the best succeeding participants get a small present during our opening ceremony. Further we collect different course material in our online library, related to the KoSemNet Project, and manage a record of web sites of contests and activities of others.
All people directly involved with our activities are not (or almost not) payed for that but have a main job either as staff or student members at one of the departments of the Leipzig University or elsewhere. Hence we try to keep the organizational overhead as minimal and informal as possible. The tutors are advised to follow our Working Rules (Arbeitsordnung) but act independent in choosing their course material and organizing their courses.
An inner circle of about half a dozen people coordinates and manages all the main activities. Most of them are involved also with other activities concerning the training of athematically gifted high school students as, e.g., with the Mathematical Olympiad.
Even if kept as informal as possible for some aspects of our activities, e.g., to manage the necessary financial transactions, we had to find a formal framework independent from the university. After an intermediate period as part of the Kreativitätsschulen Sachsen e.V. society in December 2004 we founded the LSGM e.V. society to host our activities. Such a structure offers a great amount of independence and organizational freedom and in the same time allows to exploit all advantages of a formally registered society.
We have tight contacts with the local school authorities, the Sächsische Bildungsagentur, Regionalstelle Leipzig (SBA-L, carrying regional responsibility for school activities), the Schulverwaltungsamt Leipzig (SVA, carrying responsibility for regional non-school activities), other people and institutions involved with talanted students as the Bezirkskomitee zur Förderung math.-nat. talentierter Schüler (BOK, responsible on behalf of the RSA for organization and coordination of different measures to promote scientifically talented high school students) or the Sächsische Landeskomitee zur Förderung math.-nat. talentierter Schüler (SLK, as the BOK but responsible on behalf of the Saxonian ministry of education for the coordination across Saxony).
We report kindly also support from the authorities of the Leipzig University, the rector who signed an agreement for support with the LSGM that gives the possibility to use university ressources for our courses, the dean and faculty staff of the Math. Department for their logistical and material support, and also from the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MPI-MIS).