Kar-Ping Shum, Hong Kong
Posted Monday 07 March 2016
In the past 30 years Professor Kar-Ping Shum has devoted himself passionately to the
promotion of mathematics, mathematics education and mathematics competitions in Hong Kong
and all over Southeast Asia.
Encouraged by Professor Murray Klamkin for whom he served as teaching assistant at
the University of Alberta, Professor Shum advocated and worked toward the establishment
of the International Mathematical Olympiad Committee in Hong Kong in 1985 when he was
elected President of the Hong Kong Mathematical Society. He was the first chair of
the Hong Kong IMO Committee, a post he has held ever since. Professor Shum led the
Olympiad movement in Hong Kong that allowed Hong Kong to become ready and able to
send its first team to the IMO held in Australia in 1988. Professor Shum has
also been the leader and inspiration for the organization of the IMO in Hong Kong
in 1994 and again in 2016.
Additionally, behind these events Professor Shum personally promoted the objectives of
math olympiads, and in particular the IMO, in Hong Kong giving talks in secondary and
tertiary schools as well as in the Hong Kong Gifted Academy.
His passion and energy inspired many academics, teachers and students to get involved
in the competitions themselves and in the organization of the IMO in Hong Kong. The
IMO held in Hong Kong in 1994 was a great challenge given the limited support of
the government, but it was key to inspiring many countries in the region, such as
India, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, to host the IMO themselves. At
the IMO to be held in Hong Kong in 2016, several Southeast Asian countries, such as
Laos and Myanmar, will be sending a delegation of participants for the first time.
In recent years, Professor Shum has contributed immensely to the development of
junior high school mathematics education, encouraging competition at both regional
and international levels to inspire greater interest and awareness of mathematics
among students as well as the general public.
Professor Shum is a respected member of the academic community. He is presently editor
in chief of three academic journals, the Asian European Journal of Mathematics, the
Southeast Asian Bulletin of Mathematics, and the newly founded Journal of Semigroup
Theory and Applications. He is also a founding editor of Algebra Colloquium published
by the Chinese Academy of Science, as well as serving on the editorial boards of
some fifteen journals around the world.
Professor Shum was instrumental in working with Peter O’Halloran to implement the
Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad in countries of Southeast Asia when he was president of SEAM in 1989.
Frequently working with his students, Professor Shum has published some 365 joint
research papers especially in the field of group theory and generalization. He has supervised
six doctoral and some 20 master’s thesis in mathematics.
In addition to the IMO, Professor Kar-Ping Shum has organized many mathematical
conferences and congresses in Hong Kong, China and Asia, including the Asian Mathematical
Conference which is held every five years and has established itself as an important
serial event in the region. These conferences have had great impact and have given
considerable impulse to mathematical research in Asia in recent years.
After retiring, he was also elected to the Hong Kong Committee on the Popularization of Mathematics.
Professor Kar-Ping Shum received his Diploma in Mathematics from the Hong Kong
Baptist College in 1962, his MSc from the University of Leeds in 1968, his
doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1971, and an honorary doctoral degree
in Gomel, Russia in 2002.