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He has a head for figures

PUBLISHED: 00:30 23 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

WOODBRIDGE School's head boy has been ranked among the top young mathematicians in the country.

Philip Nicholls, came 73rd out of 53,000 entrants in the UK Senior Mathematical Challenge organised by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.

WOODBRIDGE School's head boy has been ranked among the top young mathematicians in the country.

Philip Nicholls, came 73rd out of 53,000 entrants in the UK Senior Mathematical Challenge organised by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.

He was in the top one per cent and has been awarded a Gold Medal along with Ian Lyons and Wang Nan also from the fee-paying school.

Philip, 18, of Bealings Road, Martlesham, has been offered a place at Warwick University to read maths and he has also applied to Cambridge University.

''I just love problem solving. I started showing an interest in the subject from an early age and at primary school I used to go through the maths books and could not wait to get on to the next one,'' he said.

Richard Rabjohn, the school's head of maths, said: ''They are all super mathematicians and they worked very hard and deserve the credit they have received.''

A century ago former Woodbridge School pupil Frank Morley entered mathematical folklore with the Morley Theorem. This is a geometrical theorem which has puzzled and entertained lovers of geometry since its publication.

Prof Morley, born in 1860, left the school in 1879 and gained a degree in mathematics at King's College, Cambridge, before settling in America where he became a Professor of Mathematics at the Quaker College of Haverford, Pennsylvania. In 1900 he was chairman of the mathematics department at John Hopkins University.

A keen chess player, he wrote a book on the game, and defeated World Chess Champion Emmanuel Lasker before he died in 1937. His son Felix became editor of The Washington Post and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Prof Morley's youngest grand daughter, Perry Morley, and her brother and sister donated a box of mathematical and chess memorabilia belonging to him to Woodbridge School.

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