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.
Gabriel Dorfsman-Hopkins (at right) of Dartmouth College took home the big prizes of US$2500 in cash from the AMS and a TI-Nspire calculator from Texas Instruments playing Who Wants to Be a Mathematician at the 2012 SACNAS National Conference in Seattle early Saturday morning, October 13. The game was part of the conference-wide breakfast, and drew an audience of about 1000.
Here's Gabriel talking about his victory:
Find out more about Gabriel in "Dorfsman-Hopkins Is Dartmouth's Prize-Winning Math Wizard," published in Dartmouth Now.
The six undergraduate contestants who played that day are pictured below (and identified under the picture):
Here's a brief summary. The game was close the whole way, providing early-morning drama for the attendees who managed to wake up for the 7:30 breakfast. Jessica had an early lead and held on to first through the sixth question. Claire and Gabriel were the only two contestants to answer question seven correctly, so they moved into first with two questions to go. All the contestants answered the eighth question correctly, and going into the last question--worth 900 points--only 800 points separated the six contestants.
No one answered correctly on the last question, so Gabriel and Claire were tied for first, each winning a TI-Nspire graphing calculator. They then squared off on one tie-breaking question to decide who would get $500 and a chance at the Bonus Question worth $2000. Breakfast time had almost run out when Gabriel answered correctly to win the tie-breaker. In the bonus, Gabriel seemed to realize that time was a factor and answered quickly. His answer was correct and he won the $2000 to bring his total cash winnings to $2500.
The AMS thanks sponsors Texas Instruments, Maplesoft, and John Wiley and Sons for supporting Who Wants to Be a Mathematician. We'd also like to thank Ivelisse Rubio (University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras), Ricardo Cortez (Tulane University), and Jenny Kurzweil (SACNAS) for their help arranging the event.
Photographs and video above by Annette Emerson (AMS Public Awareness Officer). Text by Mike Breen (AMS Public Awareness Officer and host of Who Wants to Be a Mathematician).
See more on the 2012 conference.
Find out more about Who Wants to Be a Mathematician .