Subject can still serve ace

January 17, 1997

The maths curriculum may be in trouble, but the subject can still attract child prodigies.

Twelve-year-old Sufiah Yusof is following in the footsteps of Ruth Lawrence, another gifted mathematician, by winning a place at Oxford University. Ms Lawrence went on to become Britain's youngest graduate, gaining a first in mathematics aged 13 in 1985. She is now a researcher in knot theory at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques near Paris.

Ms Yusof needs to succeed in just one more A level for her to be assured of attending St Hilda's, the university's all-female college.

Ms Yusof, from Northampton, is one of five talented sisters and brothers who boast not just academic talent but are also adept at sport. She has played tennis at national level and one of her brothers, Abbi, aged 15, and a sister, Aisha, 14, have already passed A-level mathematics and also play tennis at national level. Ten-year-old Iskander, meanwhile, intends to take A-level mathematics and further mathematics this summer and could also end up at Oxford next year. Even three-year-old Zuleika is keen not to be left out: he already has a reading age of seven.

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