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    In the computer labs of the 4500 building, senior Sophia Viner logs into the computer system that administers the test. (Photo/Olivia Lloyd)
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    Prior to beginning the test, junior Arnav Kumar logs into the online website that is responsible for administering the first round of the competition. (Photo/Olivia Lloyd)
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    Junior Daniel Block analyzes a problem on the test. (Photo/Olivia Lloyd)

Who Wants to be a Mathematician?

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Twenty Heritage students sat down Sept. 12 to take the first round of the Who Wants to be a Mathematician (WWTBAM) competition. The test, hosted by the American Mathematical Society, consists of 10 questions, and students who answer at least seven correctly advanced to the second qualifying round.

A $5,000 cash prize awaits the champion of the final round for both the winner and his/her school. To advance to the championship round, competitors must make it through three prior levels of the competition. After round two, winners advance to the regional level, where they compete against other students in their region. There are 12 regions total: nine in the U.S. and one each in Canada and the U.K. One student from each region advances to the final round, where the 12 contenders compete in a live head-to-head competition for the championship title and $10,000 worth of prize money.

Junior Arnav Kumar, who took the first qualifying test, felt that it was fairly straightforward for the most part, with the exception of one question. “The tenth question was surprisingly difficult because it involved a formula that I did not know. I guessed it right, though,” he said.

Kumar has participated in math competition since sixth grade and hopes to advance to the national televised round. “It would be a sign that all my hard work has paid off,” he said.

Last year, senior Saaketh Vedantam advanced to the final round of the competition, held in San Diego. Although he did not walk away with the championship title, he hopes to make a second attempt this year at the 2019 Baltimore, Md., competition.

“I continue practicing math problems” in order to prepare, Vedantam said. “My goal is to make it to the finals.”

The results of round one will tentatively be released Sept. 26.


Olivia is a senior hailing from South Florida. In addition to newspaper, she has worked on the staff of Expressions Literary Magazine and is an editor of Spotlight Yearbook. Additionally, she is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Pressing the Future, an online international news organization. She has a passion for both journalistic and creative writing, but outside of the writing sphere she is a cross-country runner and social rights activist.

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