Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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.


The National Who Wants to Be a Mathematician

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.

Sam Korsky (Glenbrook North HS in IL) won the 2015 national championship at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio. Here's Sam just after his victory:

You can see all the action here.

Meet the contestants who competed in the 2015 national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician (listed below):

  • 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)

Those students traveled to the 2015 Joint Mathematics Meetings to compete for the $10,000 first prize ($5,000 for the individual and $5,000 for his or her math department) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio. Among the group are the first qualifiers for the national game from Arkansas (Zen), Connecticut (Michael K.), and Delaware (David); a fourt-time national contestant (Shyam, who won the contest as a ninth grader); and a contestant (Jesse) who qualified for the second time. The fast-paced, but friendly, competition gets underway at 9:30 (Central) on the morning of the 12th. If you can't be in San Antonio, you can watch the live webcast.

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. 

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.)

More than 2000 students participated in qualifying for the 2014 contest. Most students took the qualifying tests online thanks to our technology sponsor Maplesoft and its online testing system Maple T.A. See the Round Two test with answers and the Round One test with answers.

Topics covered in the game and in the qualifying rounds include algebra, trigonometry, geometry, history of mathematics, probability--everything but calculus.

Read about previous national contests: 2014, 2013 (champ Calvin Deng pictured below), 2012, 2011 and 2010. See previous qualifying tests (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Round One, 2014 Round Two, 2015 Round One, 2015 Round Two) and keys (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Round One, 2014 Round Two, 2015 Round One, and 2015 Round Two).

Calvin with his "check" From the 2010 contest in San Francisco

Above photo from 2010 contest by E. David Luria.


In addition to the cash prizes in the national contest, there are also prizes donated by: our technology sponsor Maplesoft, Texas Instruments, John Wiley & Sons, and the AMS. 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 ).