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.


Who Wants to Be a Mathematician on Pi Day 2014

Amanda Laidler, a senior at Smithfield High School (RI), won $1,000 playing Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at Providence College on Pi Day (3-14) 2014. Here's Amanda just after her victory and other videos from the games:



Front row, left to right: Amanda Laidler, Smithfield High School; Cassidy Laidlaw, Barrington High School; Lauren Fletcher, Mt. Hope High School; Katherine Barry, Portsmouth High School; and Emily Almonte, Warwick Veterans High School
Back, left to right: JoJo Zhou, Mount Saint Charles Academy; Winston Jiang, The Wheeler School; Alex Foster, Cumberland High School; Piotr Linek, Woonsocket High School; and Peter Ruthenberg, Scituate High School

A slideshow of photos from the games:


A big crowd turned out to watch the 10 contestants play Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, including a TV crew and a news photographer.


Game one After the fifth question (of eight total), Amanda and Katie were tied for first, with Winston in third. Amanda took over first on the next question and was in first by 100 points over Winston going into the last question. All five contestants answered the last question correctly, so Amanda kept her lead and won $500 from the AMS and a TI-Nspire CX from Texas Instruments. Her victory also earned her a spot in the Square-Off Round against the eventual winner from game two. (Front: Emily and Katie. Back: Winston, Amanda, and Peter.)


Game two In this game, Piotr and Cassidy were tied for first at the halfway point, with JoJo 100 points behind. Cassidy then took over first and held it for the rest of the game, with Piotr finishing second, and JoJo finishing in third place, 200 points behind Piotr. So Cassidy faced Amanda in the Square-Off Round, for another $500 and a chance at the $2,000 Bonus Question. (Front: Lauren and Alex. Back: Cassidy, Piotr, and JoJo.)



Square-Off Round
It may have looked like a conspiracy to confuse Who Wants to Be a Mathematician host Mike Breen when the Square-Off featured Laidler vs. Laidlaw, but Mike and the crew managed to keep everything straight. Cassidy signaled in first on the question, which concerned roots of a polynomial, but was incorrect. Amanda then had 60 seconds to signal in her answer. After about 30 seconds she signaled in with the right answer, so she advanced to the Bonus Round, a question involving right triangles. When polled, the audience preferred the correct choice, but unfortunately Amanda didn't pick that one. Still she wound up with $1,000 and the TI-Nspire CX--not a bad morning's work at all.


Amanda and Cassidy

Here are all the prizes and cash won by the ten contestants (all from Rhode Island):

  • TI-Nspire CX graphing caclulator from Texas Instruments and $1000 from the AMS: Amanda Laidler, Smithfield High School
  • TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator from Texas Instruments and $500 from the AMS: Cassidy Laidlaw, Barrington High School
  • Maple 18 from Maplesoft: Winston Jiang, The Wheeler School and Piotr Linek, Woonsocket High School
  • Calculus with Early Transcendentals by Anton, Bivens and Davis from John Wiley and Sons: Peter Ruthenberg, Scituate High School, and JoJo Zhou, Mount Saint Charles Academy
  • What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences from the AMS: Katherine Barry, Portsmouth High School, and Lauren Fletcher, Mt. Hope High School
  • Mathematics Everywhere from the AMS: Emily Almonte, Warwick Veterans High School, and Alex Foster, Cumberland High School

Thanks very much to our sponsors: Maplesoft, the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician technology sponsor, Texas Instruments, and John Wiley and Sons. Thanks also to the teachers who arranged for their students to come, to those students who formed such great rooting sections, and to Frank Ford and Lynne DeMasi of the Providence College Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Here's Frank welcoming the students and teachers:

Photos by Annette Emerson, AMS Public Awareness Office, and Nancy Hoffman, AMS Development. Videos by Annette Emerson and Bill Butterworth. Text by Mike Breen, AMS Public Awareness Office.

Find out more about Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.