It is great that the AMS is able to conduct this competition which values and encourages mathematical talent. While sports are usually celebrated, it is wonderful that students interested in mathematics can also be encouraged. I sincerely hope that many more students gain the opportunity to participate in this competition.
After taking part in the nerve-wracking "fastest finger" testing, four qualifiers faced increasingly difficult pre-calculus questions with multiple-choice answers. However, the difficult questions were offset by the entertaining emcee, Mike Breen, AMS Public Awareness Officer and game-creator.
Jonathan Goulet, from Classical High School in Providence, was high-achiever for the day, the only contestant to win the top $2,000 prize.On his way to the top, Goulet made use of all of his "lifelines." Patterned after the popular television show,"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," the AMS version offers the lifelines Ask Your Teacher, 50-50, and Ask the Audience. Rhode Island College math students were on hand to offer help during the Ask the Audience option.
The three other qualifying contestants in the rounds of play were Nathaniel Walker from Burrillville High School, who won a free subscription to The College Mathematics Journal published by the MAA; Jeremy Gordon from Exeter-West Greenwich High School, who won a T-shirt; and AlexanderMarcus from the Wheeler School, who also won a T-shirt.
The other Rhode Island students who took part in the event were: Bryan Cole, Bishop Hendricken High School; John Hawley, Toll Gate High School; Tom Howard, Cumberland High School; Alanna Hughes, Providence Country Day; Chris King, Ponaganset High School; Emilie Pressman, Lincoln School; and Elizabeth Toher, LaSalle Academy.
The AMS plans to present the game again at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, January 2002, and in Rhode Island next spring.