Short Updates 5

Fazdlee has revealed the cover design for my math books that’s going to come out next month:

http://fazdleeisa.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/front-cover-designs-for-bals-math-olympiad-books/

Thanks for the great design, Fazdlee!

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I am currently working hard to finish the first two volumes of the series. I plan to have the soft launch on 20 June 2009, during the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan competition in UM. Volumes 3 and 4 will hopefully come out in September. After Volumes 1-4 are complete, I plan to publish a compilation text of all four volumes. I also plan to have another title coming out in August. All these titles will be published by ArdentEdu.

So, goal for 2009: to write and publish six books!

This is long overdue — Shien Jin first floated the idea in 2002, when we were undergrads at MIT. At the time, Math and Science were still taught in BM, so SJ suggested I write a BM text on mathematical problem solving. I was just starting to write the first chapter on LaTeX when I realized that writing in BM is not as easy as I thought. After I graduated but before I started working, I wrote a first draft of a manuscript which was about 300 pages in length. This manuscript would later become the current four-volume series. I started work soon after I finished the draft, so I did not have the time to edit or to add in the peripherals (exercises, diagrams and examples). So by and large my manuscript lay dormant for a few years.

When I was called on to train the International Mathematical Olympiad team in 2006, the other trainers urged me to publish my manuscript, mainly because teachers and students often complained that the national math olympiad is “too difficult” and the problems are out of the syllabus (duh!). My retort is simple, if you want to test your knowledge on the syllabus, sit for SPM. However, I realized the opportunity, especially since there are more than 7,000 students who take part in the national math olympiad every year and there is no comprehensive, problem-based math text published for them. And so finally I got around to editing my manuscript. After adding the exercises, diagrams and examples, I found out that the manuscript size is becoming too big, so I divided the manuscript into four parts, and expanded each part (Number Theory, Algebra, Combinatorics and Geometry) into a book.

After much delay, finally my first book will be out soon.

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