Tony Gardiner (right) receiving his Paul Erdös Award from Harold Reiter, Chairman of the WFNMC Awards Committee, at the WFNMC meeting at Sevilla, Spain, in July 1996.

Anthony (Tony) Gardiner

Born 17 May 1947, Bracknell, Berkshire.
Died 22 January 2024, Weymouth.

We have received the following news and trivute from Geoff Smith.

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Tony Gardiner died on Monday 22nd January.

Tony was the central figure in British mathematics competitions before 1996 when UKMT was founded. For many years he ran competitions and IMO preparation as a personal mission, and he was instrumental in bringing together various activists under the UKMT umbrella.

He had firm and well-developed ideas about the role of mathematics competitions in maths education, and his voice was heard far and wide. He found it hard to hold back when he felt that something could be done better, and was unconcerned sometimes to hold a minority opinion. If you have not had a disagreement with Tony about some aspect of maths competition organization, then you have not been closely involved in that world.

Many members of our community will remember Tony with great fondness, especially for his heroic work in building the foundations for the modern and successful maths competition infrastructure in the UK. He was also well-known for patiently guiding young mathematicians along their path to mathematical maturity. He was also active in trying to shape the attitudes of young mathematics teachers.

His professional career was as a Reader in Mathematics and Mathematics Education at the University of Birmingham. The World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions made him a Paul Erdös Award in 1996.

Tony's widow Gwyn is a UKMT volunteer, and they have five children.

Geoff Smith, Chair of UKMT Trustees
24 January 2024

In addition to the above tribute by Geoff Smith which outlines activities principally responsible for Tony's Paul Erdös Award, Tony was particularly influential with WFNMC itself, especially in its early days.

In 1984 at ICME-5 in Adelaide, Tony was one of 20 mathematicians present at the meeting wich founded WFNMC. Tony then attended ICME-6 in Budapest, 1988, where many of the members gathered to make presentations.

In 1990 Ron Dunkley hosted the first WFNMC Conference at the University of Waterloo, where Tony attended and gave one of his customary presentations of interest. Tony then attended ICME-7, Quebec, 1992, WFNMC-2 in Pravets, 1994, and in 1996 ICME-8, Sevilla, where Tony was presented with his Paul Erdös Award.

Sevilla was noted for Ron Dunkley becoming WFNMC President after the death of Peter O'Halloran and presenting for the first time a Constitution. Tony was elected a WFNMC Vice President, a position he held until 2008.

Tony's most direct contribution to WFNMC, after continuing to attend all ICME and WFNMC conferences in between, was to himself host WFNMC-5, a memorable conference held at Robinson College, Cambridge University, in 2006, a very well run and attended conference with several notable invited lecturers also.

It is very sad to have lost Tony, one of the most active mathematicians who was prominent in making WFNMC what it is today.

Peter Taylor
27 January 2024