Dr John Curran started the competition in 1991 and was joined a couple of years later by Dr John Shanks.
Leanne Kirk provides administrative assistance and the friendly face of the competition that you will meet if you ever contact us.

John Curran retired from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as a senior lecturer in 2013 after lecturing for almost 40 years at all levels in the Department. His main area of specialization and research was in algebra (particularly group theory). He was one of the principal organisers of the Department’s Junior Mathematics Competition (years 9-11) during its first 12 years and the Department’s Chief Advisor of Studies for more than a decade before retirement. One of his first problem challenges in the Department was as a consultant on the TV show “The Krypton Factor”.
John Shanks is semi-retired from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics where he lectured in mathematics and numerical analysis for 40 years. Numerical analysis is all about how to solve mathematical problems using numerical means, so he has been problem solving for many years! He has always been interested in solving puzzles, although admits he would be stretched to compete with some of the high flyers in the Final Challenge competitions. He also runs a web design and software business which comes in very useful for managing the Problem Challenge website and analysing the results.
Leanne Kirk is an administrator with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics where she has worked for the last 20 years. She loved mathematics at school and has even tried her hand at doing a few mathematics papers at University. Problem Challenge competition is an enjoyable part of her daily work and she enjoys working with the teachers to enable them to administer this fun test to the children. The two Johns get her to check the questions to ensure they make sense. This comes in handy especially when traveling around Europe on a bus tour — the tour director gave a curly question in order to keep the travellers quiet for at least 30 minutes and she answered it in 7. She is amazed at the ability shown by the children at this level. There is no way she can finish the Final Challenge in an hour.