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.
Below are the 12 contestants (in reverse alphabetical order) from the US, Canada, and the UK who qualified for the 2018 Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Championship, which took place on Saturday, January 13 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego. In the group were two eighth graders, the youngest qualifiers ever, and the first contestants from Canada and the UK.
Anlin Zhang, senior, Canyon Crest Academy (CA)
Qualified for the USA(J)MO and is a Siemens Competition National Finalist.
She finds joy in teaching and inspiring younger students, through Science Olympiad and tutoring.
Anlin can't wait until the gender gap in math closes, and the numbers of girls and boys in math events are equal.
She was on San Diego's KUSI TV talking about her Siemens project with her project team members Rachana Madhukara and Kevin Ren. They won a $25,000 scholarship for their project.
KUSI also ran a story about Anlin and the game on the day of the game. (Unfortunately, the video is on longer online.)
Justin Yu, sophomore, Williams High School (TX)
His favorite thing about school is orchestra--he plays the cello.
Last year Justin and his MATHCOUNTS team finished first in the national competition. Justin finished 7th individually.
He's seen every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Saaketh Vedantam, junior, American Heritage School (FL)
His favorite thing about school is calculus class, aka the Crazy 8's.
He was a USAMO qualifier in 9th and 10th grades, and Florida MATHCOUNTS champion in 8th grade.
Saaketh saw snow for the first time this year.
Moses Schindler, junior, Ladue Horton Watkins High School (MO)
USAMO qualifier in 2017.
Moses can't wait until he sees San Diego and the Joint Mathematics Meetings.
One interesting thing about Moses: He can put one foot behind his head ("sort of," he says) and can do both feet simultaneously with some effort.
Vignesh Rajmohan, senior, James L. Mann High School (SC)
Was selected to compete at the National Judicial Competition for mock trial and finished third in the Beta Club Quiz Bowl National Competition.
If he wins first prize, he will invest money in his ongoing research on natural methods of water purification and further develop his service project, Project Untether.
Vignesh's favorite thing about school is the new MakerSpace.
Yuji Okitani, senior, Tapton School (UK)
Finished sixth nationally in the UK Team Maths Challenge.
Yuji says that he can solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded (sometimes).
He is the first from the United Kingdom to participate in the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Championship. Read more about the live final that he won to qualify.
And read more about Yuji in "Divide and conquer: The Sheffield maths maestro taking on the world," Robert Cumber, The Star, January 4, 2018.
Yuji was on BBC Radio 4 on Jan. 10 and created the Puzzle for Today.
Brian Liu, freshman, High Technology High School (NJ)
He earned a perfect score on the AMC 10, AIME, and USAJMO, and qualified for the Mathematics Olympiad Program.
Brian's favorite thing about school is being able to hang out with his friends.
He carries calculators in his pockets and sleeps "many hours a day."
Andrew Lee, 8th grade, Robert E. Melican Middle School (MA)
Andrew is the youngest person ever to qualify for the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Championship.
He is also an excellent badminton player and will be missing a big tournament, which is happening at the same time as the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician championship contest.
He got a perfect score on the 2017 AMC 8 and AMC 10B, and was named to the Distinguished Honor Roll for AMC 10A and 10B.
Read more about Andrew in "Melican Middle School’s Andrew Lee to compete at a prestigious math competition next month in San Diego," Jay Gearan, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, December 27, 2017.
Andrew Hwang, senior, Adlai E. Stevenson High School (IL)
Andrew was a member of the 2017 Moody's Mega Math Modeling Challenge national championship team from Stevenson High School.
This is his second straight year qualifying for the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Championship. For the past contest, in Atlanta, he and his family had to drive from Chicago to Atlanta because their flight was cancelled due to wintry weather in Georgia.
He attended PROMYS, a six-week math program, and did research on Ulam sequences.
Howard Halim, junior, University of Toronto Schools (ON)
Howard is the first contestant from Canada to qualify for the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician Championship.
One of his favorite hobbies is competitive programming.
He is proud to be the leader of his school's HMMT, ARML, and PUMaC math teams.
Howard was written up Liz Braun in the Toronto Sun, "Teenage math whiz to represent Canada on world stage" (includes video).
Matthew Guo, junior, Evergreen Valley High School (CA)
His favorite thing about school is math club meeting.
Matthew earned a gold medal in the 2017 USA Physics Olympiad, was on the 2017 US Physics team, was a 2017 USAMO qualifier, and was the 2015 California MATHCOUNTS State Champion.
He can't wait until humans develop a spaceship that can move near the speed of light.
Samuel Goodman, eighth grade, Hyde Park Middle School (NV)
Samuel is the second youngest contestant ever, a little bit older than Andrew Lee (above).
He was named to the AMC 10 Distinguished Honor Roll, got a perfect score on the AMC8, was Nevada state champion in MATHCOUNTS, and finished in fourth place in the Nevada geography bee.
His favorite things about school are math competitions, geography, and spelling.
See Samuel talk about the competition and his other talents on Las Vegas station KTNV's Morning Blend.
Samuel won the 2018 championship, which makes him the youngest winner ever. Here he is in a segment by Las Vegas television station KVVU (after the ad).