Fall 2011

Open University Student since Elementary School: Gal Dor

Gal Dor

16-year old Gal Dor is an old hand at university studies. He began at the Open University when he was 11 years old. Now, six years later, he has one undergraduate degree under his belt, is working on his master's degree, and has earned a bevy of medals from international Olympic competitions in mathematics, computers and now, physics.

In 2008, the Tel Aviv magazine, Time Out, published an article about people under the age of 30 who had "done it" in all fields -- sciences, business, art. At the end of the list was a short list of three teenagers (13-14 years of age) that the magazine felt had the potential "to get there" -- and would do so in the not-too-distant future. One was a 14-year old broker, another a 13-year old chef and deejay, and the third was 13-year old mathematician Gal Dor.

Gal doesn't have to wait to "get there" he's already there.

At the time the article was written, Gal was an 8th grader and had already been a student at the Open University for two years. During an interview given to the Open University magazine, he related the following story: "My mother, who has a doctorate in computers and mathematics, noticed that I was very interested in mathematics. When I was in fifth grade, she brought me a book with mathematical problems given on matriculation exams, which I solved -- with a little help from her. In 6th grade I signed up for a special program in mathematics at Bar Ilan University but after one semester I was bored, so I quickly completed the program."

By the time Gal was in 7th grade, he had already completed his matriculation exam.

Olympic Medal Recipient

When Gal was 13 years old he was a member of the Israeli team to the Seemous Competition (The South Eastern European Mathematical Olympiad for University Students) where, although the youngest competitor, he walked away with the bronze medal.

What most impressed Gal was not the flight to Athens, or the difficult questions asked, but the opportunity to speak with his fellow competitors from around the world. Encouraged by his results in the Athens competition, he went on to compete in the following years in the International Mathematics Competition for University Students held in Europe where he twice came in second place.

But, Gal has not strictly focused on mathematics. He has competed in computer competitions in Israel, "Code-Guru Extreme" where he came in first place, and an international competition in Canada where he earned a bronze medal. He has also competed in physics competitions, the most recent one, the Asian Physics Olympics, where he won a gold medal.

All in the Family

With the Dor family, the Open University is really all in the family. Gal's father, Tomer, has earned four degrees from the Open University: computer science (which he finished while still in the army), social sciences/management, a master's degree in computer science, and more currently an MBA, which he completed as Summa Cum Laude.

Gal's mother is also no stranger to the Open University. It was she who introduced him to Open University coursework.

When Gal was still in elementary school he had decided to continue onto university. The first course for the 6th grader was "Linear Algebra 1" --a required course. At first, he only registered for one course per semester, afterwards stepped up the pace to two courses, and sometimes even three -- never once thinking that this was too difficult.

Currently, still in high school, Gal has already completed his undergraduate degree at the Open University, and is nearing completion of his master's degree in mathematics from Bar Ilan University. And, all of this before he has even finished high school.