Kar-Ping Shum, Hong Kong, China

Posted Monday 07 March 2016, revised 04 March 2017

Due to Professor Shum's inability to attend the normal presentation in Hamburg, Executive member Peter Taylor arranged to present his award at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in front of his colleagues, students and other local dignitaries on 03 March 2017.

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Professor Shum with Peter Taylor.

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Special guests after the presentation. From left

  • Professor Raymond Chan, Head of Mathematics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Professor Henry Wong, Dean of Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • The Honourable Mr Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, President of Hong Kong Legislative Council, 2008 to 2016
  • Professor Tan Tieniu, Vice Minister, Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R.
  • Professor Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice Chancellor, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Professor Peter Taylor, Member WFNMC Executive.
  • Professor Kar-Ping Shum.
  • Professor Ambrose King, previous Vice Chancellor, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Professor Isabella Wai-yin Poon, Pro Vice Chancellor, Vice President and Professor of Statistics, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

[KP Shum]

Professor Shum after the event with Peter Taylor and holder of the WFNMC David Hilbert Award Andy Liu, who made a special trip from Canada for the occasion.


[KP Shum]

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.