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Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the 2012 ARML Competition at Penn State

"I really appreciate that you made this opportunity available to the students at ARML. Thank you for running this."

"Thanks for working so hard to organize the event! We were glad to have you at ARML."

Western Mass team
(Left to right: Dhroova Aiylam, Saarik Kalia, Jonathan Tsai, and Vivian He)

A team from Western Massachusetts (above) won US$3200 and four TI-Nspire CX graphing calculators playing a team version of Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the 2012 American Regions Mathematics League competition at Pennsylvania State University on Friday, June 1. Just before the start of Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, torrential rain fell on the campus, which resulted in some very wet contestants and audience members. The weather also caused two of the teams who were scheduled to play to miss the game, so each game featured three teams, instead of the usual four. Almost all of the contestants are pictured below (the AAST/Bergen team was still getting soaked when the picture was taken).


Game one

Audience Vermont team
The Vermont team
AAST/Bergen team Western Mass team
Left: The AAST/Bergen team; Above: the team from Western Massachusetts

In game one, Vermont led at the halfway point, 50 points ahead of Western Massachusetts. The latter team took the lead after question five and held first place for the rest of the game. All the contestants answered the very difficult final question about combinatorics, and a little geometry, correctly. The win earned the Western Mass team $600 and four TI-Nspire CX graphing calculators.

Game two

Upstate NY team Lehigh Valley teamLeft: Upstate New York team; Above: Lehigh Valley team
Central Jersey team

Lehigh Valley led throughout game two, although it was very close. Upstate New York and Central Jersey each spent time in second place, with Central Jersey (at left) being within 50 points of first going into the last question. The Lehigh Valley team performed better on the last question and won game two (and the same prizes that Western Mass won in game one) by 450 points.

Lehigh Valley team
(Left to right: Pheobe Cai, Eric Schneider, and Anderson Wang. Not pictured: Matt Rauen, who had to rush off to another event)

Western Mass and Lehigh Valley went against each other in the Square-Off Round. It was very close, but Western Mass signaled in first with the correct answer to win another $600 and a chance at the $2000 Bonus Question. The team worked intensely on the Bonus Question, which involved geometry and algebra, and answered correctly to add $2000 to its winnings.


Here are the prizes won by the teams:

  • Four TI-Nspire CX's from Texas Instruments and $3200 from the AMS: Western Massachusetts
  • FourTI-Nspire CX's from Texas Instruments and $600 from the AMS: Lehigh Valley
  • Four copies of Maple 16 from Maplesoft: Vermont All Stars (Zachary Farr, Tyler Gray, Vivian Huang, and Kevin Wang) and Central Jersey (Phillip Ai, Louis Brown, Matthew Stone, and Jessica Zhang)
  • Four copies of Calculus by Anton, Bivens and Davis, from John Wiley and Sons: AAST/Bergen (Andrew Cho, Abhiram Gogate, Steven Kwon, and Vivian Xu) and Upstate New York (Matthew Babbitt, Cecilia Holodak, Doug Knowles, and Ben Lowenstein)

The AMS thanks sponsors Texas Instruments, Maplesoft, and John Wiley and Sons for supporting Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Alumni alert

Ben Zauzmer

The Who Wants to Be a Mathematician staff had a chance to visit with Ben Zauzmer (left), who was runner-up to Evan O'Dorney in the first national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician in 2010. Ben was on the Lehigh Valley team that won the ARML competition three years straight and is entering his sophomore year at Harvard University (as is Evan). He was at this year's competition as a proctor. If you like to gamble on Oscar night, see his Oscar prediction web page. Ben used math to make his predictions and batted 1.000 in the major categories in this year's Oscars.

Photographs above by Bill Butterworth (Who Wants to Be a Mathematician co-creator and judge, DePaul University Department of Mathematics and Statistics) and Mike Breen (Who Wants to Be a Mathematician host and AMS Public Awareness Officer). Text by Mike Breen.

Find out more about Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.