AMT logo


BH Neumann Award for Maurice Starck

Maurice Starck, for many years a mathematics teacher at Jean Mariotti Secondary School, received a BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann at a function at the University of Canberra Staff Club on Sunday 14 January 2001.

[Maurice Starck bhn]

Maurice Starck receives his Award from Professor Neumann.

[Maurice bhn]

Peter Taylor, wife Michèle, Maurice and Professor Neumann after Maurice received the Award. 


Maurice Starck was born in a German-speaking village of Lorraine in 1946. His parents had been married there during German occupation and had received a personal wedding present from Adolf Hitler: a copy of Mein Kampf.

In 1967 he was drafted into the French Army but instead opted to teach in New Caledonia for two years. In 1969 he returned to France and studied at the University of Strasbourg, upgrading his qualifications to teach mathematics. He found a number of opportunities to return to New Caledonia, and in 1976 settled there, becoming a mathematics teacher at Jean Mariotti Secondary School.

In the early 1980s he was up a ladder on the house he was building when a woman approached, seeking directions. It turned out to be Michèle, to whom he is now married.

In 1996 he was appointed agrégé; professor at the University of the French Pacific. This enables him to maintain his study of his much beloved Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometry.

He is now a legend in Nouméa. Many people have been taught mathematics by him. Michèle follows interests in Art and poetry. Maurice enjoys sailing, formally in a 28-footer, but now in a 36-footer.

In respect of this award it is noted that in 1985 he became director of the AMC in New Caledonia, a post he now shares with Christiane Hopman-Audet. During this time New Caledonia has contributed a consistent number of entries up to about 5,000, a high number for a region with smaller population than Canberra. In this time New Caledonia has earned one AMC Medal. These entries are remarkable considering the strained relations between France and Australia on occasions.

[Maurice Starck bhn]

Maurice presents a New Caledonian AMC T Shirt to Professor Neumann. 
Maurice is a remarkable problem creator. In 1990 he attended the first WFNMC Conference in Canada, where he won the prize for submitting the best problem. In 2000 he submitted a fascinating problem to the AMC. This problem was fair, but highly challenging and particularly suitable for the AMC. It was No. 30 in the Junior and Intermediate papers and No 29 in the Senior paper.

He has also established impressive web pages on interactive geometry. These pages can be accessed from the Trusts web site. A particular highlight is the section on polyhedra (in English).

In conclusion, Maurice has given long and distinguished service to mathematical education, both in his own country and internationally. He is a worthy winner of the BH Neumann Award.

Peter Taylor 
Sunday 14 January 2001