Who Wants To Be A Mathematician

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival

Kyle Kyle Gatesman (left), an eighth grader at Frost Middle School in Fairfax, VA, won $1,000 from the AMS and a TI-Nspire CX from Texas Instruments playing Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF) in Washington, DC on April 25. Kyle was one of eight students from DC, MD, VA, and NC who participated in the game on Friday afternoon in front of about 150 people.

Here are the eight contestants:


Front row, left to right: Kyle Gatesman, Frost Middle School (VA); Parker Garrison, Crossroads Academy (homeschooled, NC); Viacheslav Adamyants, Russan Embassy School (DC); and Veronica Balick, Mount de Sales Academy (MD)
Back, left to right: Isaac Stevens, Springbrook High School (MD); Jack Lindsey, St. Albans School (DC); Max Goldberg, Walt Whitman High School (MD); and Frank Zhang, Sandy Spring Friends School (MD )

Videos from the game (the acoustics in the exhibit hall weren't very good, sorry):

A slideshow of photos from the games:

Created with flickr slideshow.


Game one

Due to time constraints, there were only six questions in each game, instead of the usual eight. At the halfway point of game one, Frank, Jack, and Kyle were tied for first, all answering the first three questions correctly. No one answered the next question correctly, but the same three contestants did get question five right, so there was a three-way tie for first going into the last question. Kyle and Jack both answered question six correctly, so a tie-breaking question was used to determine who would qualify for the Square-Off Round. Kyle answered this question very quickly, which earned him a spot in the round as well as $500 from the AMS and a TI-Nspire CX. (Left to right: Veronica, Kyle, Jack (explaining one of his answers), and Frank.)




Game two This game was also close but had an unexpected feature: A nearby exhibit was deomonstrating that drones could play music, so one of the questions had an atmosphere (and sound) similar to that of Final Jeopardy. Fortunately, the music didn't seem to disturb the contestants. The game started similarly to the previous game, with Parker, Max, and Isaac answering the first three questions correctly. Parker and Isaac got number four right, so they were tied with two questions left. Isaac was the only one to answer question five correctly (he said he guessed). He, Max, and Parker answered the last question correctly, so Isaac won the game and the cash and TI-Nspire CX. (Left to right: Viacheslav, Parker, Max, and Isaac.)


Isaac with his "check" and TI calculator.

Kyle was almost as quick in the Square-Off Round as he was in his game one tie-breaker, again answering first with the correct answer. This earned him another $500 and a spot in the Bonus Round--a chance at another $2,000. Unfortunately, Kyle didn't get this one right, but he still earned $1,000 for the afternoon. Here are all the prizes and cash won by the eight contestants:

Thanks very much to our sponsors: the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician technology sponsor Maplesoft, Texas Instruments, and John Wiley and Sons. Thanks also to the teachers who arranged for their students to come, to Laura Angle of USASEF and to the A/V people at the festival, who arranged the logistics for Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.

Read about more AMS activity at the 2014 USASEF.

Photos by Anita Benjamin, Assistant Director of the AMS Washington Office. Text by Mike Breen, AMS Public Awareness Office and host of Who Wants to Be a Mathematician. (Not pictured: Bill Butterworth, Who Wants to Be a Mathematician co-creator and technology guru.)

Find out more about Who Wants to Be a Mathematician.