“Hard Problems” follows the six exceptional high school students who represented the United States in 2006 at the world's toughest math competition — the International Mathematical Olympiad IMO. Each year, the grueling and exhilarating contest pits the top teams from 90 countries against one another.
In their quest to solve some of the most challenging problems, these dedicated and talented young men and women — some immigrants, others U.S.-born — shatter many stereotypes and clichés about the mathematically gifted.
In the United States the IMO process starts in December with a test taken by over 250,000 of the best mathematics students in America’s high schools. These applicants have to be tested until the IMO-Team of only six members is crafted.
Through interviews with parents, teachers, and the students, we learn why these teens are so talented in math, and what drives them to compete in ever more rigorous tests against others who are equally good or better.
“Hard Problems” provides an insightful and thoughtful look at the process that produces and nurtures successful Olympiad teams, and ultimately, the great mathematicians of the future.