József Pelikán, Hungary
Posted Monday 17 March 2014
József Pelikán is Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Algebra and Number Theory at Eötvös
Loránd University, Hungary. He has been involved in mathematics competitions since his own school days,
significantly winning three gold medals and one silver at the IMO in the years 1963-1966, as well as
two special prizes for elegant solutions.
As a professional mathematician, he has been working for the Bolyai Mathematical Society since
the years of his University studies. He has been very active in research, and among other projects
he participated in research with Janos Pintz and Endre Szemeredi looking at the estimation of the
speed of the Adleman-Pomerance-Rumely prime test.
Most importantly, his involvement both in national mathematics competitions in Hungary and in
international competitions has been of great depth.
He is a member of the contest committee of the prestigious Kürschák Competition, and has been
working there for more than three decades. In the early days of the Kangaroo competition in
Hungary, he worked for several years in helping to organize and implement the competition,
taking part in three international problem seminars.
From an international standpoint, what stands out is, of course, his work at the International
Mathematical Olympiad. József Pelikán has special qualities since he himself was one of the most
succesful contestants of the IMO, later an organiser (IMO 1982 Keszthely), later Leader, then member
of the Advisory Board and for two periods the chairman of the IMO Advisory Board. He is a person
whose life is a part of IMO history. He has friends all around the world and he used his friendship
to encourage people to take part more actively in the world math life from Africa to South America,
from Central Europe to the Far East.
He has also been involved in developing material for students to prepare for Olympiad competitions,
and in this context his co-authoring of the book Discrete Mathematics (with Laszlo Lovasz and
Katalin Vesztergombi) is prominent.
József Pelikán’s contribution to competitions in Hungary and at the international level is
outstanding. He has played a significant role in the development of mathematical challenges
worldwide and hence the World Federation of Mathematics Competitions, WFNMC, is proud to
recognize József Pelikán with the Paul Erdös Award 2014.