Maths whizz Aaron Naidu graduates summa cum laude from UKZN, next up Oxford University

Maths whizz Aaron Naidu is off to Oxford after his stellar academic performance at UKZN. Picture: Supplied / UKZN

Maths whizz Aaron Naidu is off to Oxford after his stellar academic performance at UKZN. Picture: Supplied / UKZN

Published May 9, 2024


Academic excellence has always been a priority for Aaron Naidu who graduated summa cum laude for his Honours degree in statistical science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal this week.

He will then head to the Oxford University in England later this year where he pursue his Master of Science in statistical science degree.

A passion for mathematics since his schooling years, Naidu was the first student to win the Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad outright while still in high school.

Having matriculated from Eden College in Durban, UKZN said Naidu excelled in mathematics, winning several awards at a national and international level.

These awards were obtained from South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO), Computer Programming and Physics Olympiads, and the International Mathematics and Informatics Olympiads.

UKZN said Naidu graduated summa cum laude for his undergraduate degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), placed in the top 3% of every module, including the six extra he took on.

He received the Zac Yacoob Scholarship for being the best honours student at UKZN across all Colleges and Disciplines.

Following his academic achievement, Naidu was offered many bursaries but opted to study at UKZN because of its proximity to home and his experiences in the Siyanqoba Regional Olympiad Training Programme run by Emeritus Professor Poobhalan Pillay.

The 12-month programme at Oxford includes a research dissertation component.

Until he heads to Oxford in October, Naidu is working towards writing actuarial science board exams.

Naidu attested his good marks to God, the nurturing environment he was blessed with and the support of his parents, Dr Sean Naidu and Dr Anoshini Moodley, as well as his brother, Jaedon Naidu.

In 2021, IOL spoke to Naidu about his win at the South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad.

He said the reason why some student found maths challenging was because “too many students tried to learn the formulae needed for a test and how to apply them, instead of focussing on where the formulae come from and why we do things the way we do”.

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