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Who Wants To Be A Mathematician

"I am sure I can speak for everyone involved when I say that this was the best math competition we have ever been a part of. Many thanks to all of you for that wonderful happening."

2015 IMO: Three of the six members of the first-place 2015 U.S. International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) team are former Who Wants to Be a Mathematician contestants. David Stoner (below, left) won a game at the College of Charleston in 2014 and was a member of the second-place team at the 2015 ARML competition at the University of Georgia. David tied for first and won the $16,500 Akamai Foundation scholarship for his performance in the 2015 USAMO. Shyam Narayanan (below, center, accepting a trophy from 2013-2015 AMS President David Vogan) qualified for the national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician four times, winning as a freshman in 2012 and finishing second in 2013 and 2015. Michael Kural (below, right) qualified for the 2015 national game as a sophomore.

David Stoner, Shyam Narayanan, and Michael Kural

(Photos of Shyam and Michael by GoenSouth.)

See video, photos, and a description of the most recent Who Wants to Be a Mathematician--won by a team from Florida--which took place at the University of Georgia on May 29 (part of the 2015 ARML competition). In an earlier game, Erica Lin won $3,000 playing Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the National Math Festival in Washington, DC on April 18.

Dates for the 2016 National Who Wants to Be a Mathematician: The Round One qualifying test can be administered by teachers any time between Sept. 19 and Oct. 3 (of 2015). Round two (for those who score eight--out of ten--and above on the Round One test will go from Oct. 17 to 31. The semifinals and finals will take place at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle on Jan. 7 (2016). Teachers who would like more information should email paoffice at ams dot org, with the subject line: National WWTBAM. In your email message, please include your name, school, and courses taught in the fall.

The game is for high school students but middle school students are welcome to try to qualify. The youngest qualifier we've had for the national game was a freshman.

2015 USAMO Honors: In addition to Michael, Shyam, and David mentioned above, two other former Who Wants to Be a Mathematician contestants did very well in this year's American Mathematics Competitions (AMC). Kevin Sun, who finished in the top 12 along with Michael, Shyam, and David, qualified for the 2014 national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician. Michael--back row, second from left--and Shyam--front row, second from right--are pictured below. Ashwin Sah, who won Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at Oregon State University in 2014, earned USAMO Honorable Mention. Congratulations to all of them, as well as all the USAMO winners and honorable mention awardees.

Sam Korsky (Glenbrook North HS in IL) won the 2015 national championship at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio. See and hear Sam talk about his victory. You can see all the action here or on our videos page.


2015 National WWTBAM contestants

(Photo: Laurie Rush, Goen South)

Meet the contestants who participated in the game (listed below and pictured above):

  • Michael An (NC)
  • Tomas Choi (CA)
  • Nicholas Diaco (FL)
  • John DiCarlo (TX)
  • Sam Korsky (IL)
  • Michael Kural (CT)
  • Shyam Narayanan (KS)
  • Zen Tang (AR)
  • Shreya Thipireddy (TX)
  • David Xu (DE)
  • Jesse Zhang (CO)

More than 200 students nationwide took part in the second round of qualifying for the 2015 national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician. Most took the test online using Maple T.A. from the game's technology sponsor Maplesoft. Here's the Round 2 test with answers. Students who scored eight or better in the first round moved on to the second round.

2014 USAMO Stars: Of the 23 people who were selected for USAMO (USA Mathematical Olympiad) Top 12 and Honorable Mention, six were involved in Who Wants to Be a Mathematician in the 2013-14 school year. In the Top 12 were David Stoner, who participated in the game at the College of Charleston Math Meet, and Kevin Sun, who was a contestant at the 2014 national contest. Receiving Honorable Mention were Samuel Korsky (Fall 2013 Arnold Ross Lecture), Sammy Luo (2014 national contest), who won a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad, Shyam Narayanan (2014 national contest), and Ashwin Sah (Oregon Invitational Math Tournament at Oregon State University). Congratulations to them! See the names of all the USAMO honorees. The USAMO is a program of the Mathematical Association of America.

David Vogan and Vivek Miglani

Vivek Miglani won the 2014 national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore. Vivek is pictured above accepting the trophy from AMS President David Vogan. (Photo: Sandy Huffaker.) See photos and more information about the 2014 national contestants.

Both the semifinals and finals took place at the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore. If you didn't make it to Baltimore, you can still watch the game here. More than 2,000 students took the test, mostly online using Maple TA. See the Round Two test with answers and the Round One test with answers.

Find out more about the national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.

In Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, high school students compete for cash and prizes by answering multiple choice mathematics questions. The cash prize in each game is donated by the AMS. Other prize donors are: Texas Instruments, Maplesoft Inc., and John Wiley & Sons.

What are former contestants up to nowadays? Read about what some former contestants are doing.

The game is a program of the AMS Public Awareness Office and was developed by Mike Breen (AMS Public Awareness Officer) and Bill Butterworth (DePaul University ).

Augusta GA game Archive: Read about past performances of the game.

Videos: Watching the game, and playing along, is a great activity for a math club or for individuals who want to match wits with the contestants.

Sample: If you'd like a PowerPoint file with sample questions, email the Public Awareness Office (paoffice at ams dot org) with the subject line: "wwtbam sample round."

At Providence College Students enjoying a game of Who Wants To Be A Mathematician