Skip to Main Content

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at George Washington University

"I just wanted to write and thank you for the game last week at GWU. Thanks again for putting on a good challenge!"

"Thank YOU and the AMS for doing this. Alan had a wonderful time and the students who attended also had a lot of fun. Again, thanks for doing this."

"We all very much enjoyed coming to the contest last week, it was great! Thanks for organizing this event and inviting our school to participate in the testing."

Statue of George Washington

Washington Monument

Bust of George Washington near University entrance

When Who Wants to Be a Mathematician traveled to Washington, DC, Holden Lee, a sophomore at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, answered every question correctly including the bonus question to earn himself $2000. The game was held in the Marvin Center at George Washington University. Classmates, teachers, George Washington University faculty, and people in government came to the game to watch the four contestants play for the prizes and cash available.

Contestants with host Mike Breen and George Washington University math professor Murli Gupta


Above left, left to right: Eric Hubble (Calverton High School), Teresa Yao (St. John's College High School), Game host Mike Breen, Holden Lee, Alan Pinkert (Walt Whitman High School), and local organizer Murli Gupta of the George Washington University Department of Mathematics


Audience milling about

Eric and some of his fans

Holden and Alan were tied for a while, but Holden never missed a question and so he wound up in the bonus round. During the game he revealed that he is taking Algebra II, but was able to answer questions on more advanced topics because he reads a lot of math on his own.

Holden during the bonus round

Holden and Mike

The prizes won by the four contestants are:

  • $2000 from the AMS and a TI-89 Titanium graphing calculator from Texas Instruments: Holden Lee
  • Maple 10 from Maplesoft: Alan Pinkert
  • Calculus by Anton, Bivens and Davis from John Wiley and Sons: Eric Hubble
  • What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences from the AMS: Teresa Yao


The audience was enthusiastic in its support for the contestants. A group of students and teachers from Calverton High brought a clever sign and lots of energy, ...

Calverton contingent


...Teresa Yao's fan club sported funny math t-shirts...

Teresa and some of her fans


...and after the game, Usha Vishnuvajjala, from US Representative Chris Van Hollen's office, presented Alan with a certificate recognizing his participation in the game.

Usha and Alan

Thanks to all who made up the audience. Thanks also to John Conway and Murli Gupta of the George Washington University Department of Mathematics, and to Sam Rankin and Anita Benjamin of the AMS DC Office for organizing local arrangements for the game. The AMS also thanks sponsors Texas Instruments, Maplesoft, and John Wiley and Sons, for their continued support of Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.

Photographs by Who Wants to Be a Mathematician judge and co-creator Bill Butterworth of the DePaul University Department of Mathematical Sciences, and by AMS Public Awareness Officer Mike Breen.

Find out more about Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.