Thursday, May 26, 2011

Congratulations again, Matthew!

Albany Area Math Circle student Matthew Babbitt, a tenth grader from Fort Edward, New York, was among the top 10 American students on the Asia Pacific Math Olympiad (APMO), earning an Honorable Mention and helping the US team take second place among the 34 participating countries.

The other students on the United States APMO team along with Matthew were quite a distinguished group: Xiaoyu He, Wenyu Cao, Evan O'Dorney, Albert Gu, Calvin Deng, David Yang, Benjamin Gunby, and Mitchell Lee. (In fact, all the other APMO top ten students have won the USA Math Olympiad at least once. Several have won it multiple times and have made the International Math Olympiad team, where they have won gold and/or silver medals.)

XXIII Asia Pacific Math Olympiad

2011 Summary of Results

Top 20 countries:

1 KOREA 289
2 USA 269
4 PERU 223
5 TAIWAN 220
6 JAPAN 208
7 RUSSIA 205
9 BRAZIL 190
10 HONG KONG 173
11 CANADA 164
14 MEXICO 141

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Math Circle stalwarts challenge Watson @Jeopardy!

Yesterday, two pillars of the Albany Area Math Circle, advisor Bill Babbitt and veteran student leader Matthew Babbitt, traveled to IBM Watson Research Laboratories along with members of RPI's Human Media Interaction class. As part of their field trip, they got to play as a team head to head against Watson (or perhaps we should say, "two heads to no head" against Watson). The photo above came early in the game. Watson pulled ahead--by a large margin--after this shot was taken.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Congratulations to Professor Rita Biswas!

Earlier today, Albany Area Math Circle advisor Rita Biswas won the John S. Levato Endowment Award for Teaching in recognition of her outstanding teaching at the University at Albany (SUNY) School of Business.

In addition to the great work she does at UAlbany, she has also served as an outstanding advisor to our math circle, most notably in the excellent work she did in organizing arrangements for the University at Albany to host the high school state championship math meet, NYSML, last year. She has also served on the coaching staff of the Upstate New York Math Team, traveling with them to the national math championship meet, ARML, at Penn State on the weekend after Memorial Day. She has also organized weekend expeditions to the Princeton University Math Contest (PUMaC) and the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament as well as helping with proctoring the USA Math Olympiad and supporting our middle school outreach initiatives. Our math circle is very fortunate to have her as an advisor.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Congratulations Schuyler!

Albany Area Math Circle member Schuyler Smith has been named by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as one of the 141 US Presidential Scholars this year. Congratulations as well to Union College Astrophysics Professor Rebecca Koopman, whom Schuyler has nominated for the US Presidential Scholar Teacher Recognition Award. They will be honored in a ceremony in Washington, DC in June.

Schuyler's official US Presidential Scholar biography appears below:

Schuyler has always been curious about the world around him. He grew up in Upstate New York, and feels more at home exploring mountains than navigating cities. Today he's a National AP Scholar, and the state champion and nationally ranked in many math and science competitions. He's completed most of the math and computer science majors at Union College. In 2008 he started an open source project that has been used to teach physics to high school and college students, and currently works as a teaching assistant for Art of Problem Solving. Each week he volunteers to teach math to middle schoolers. Schuyler has observed on the world's largest telescope, and his research papers on galaxy clusters and evolutionary robotics have been published nationally and internationally. In his free time he enjoys tennis, sailing, clarinet, computers, photography, flashlights, and penguins.

ADDENDUM: It is worth noting that Schuyler is only the second student from this part of the state to be honored as a US Presidential Scholar in recent years. The last Presidential Scholar from our region, Beth Schaffer, selected in 2007, was also a member of Albany Area Math Circle throughout her four years at Guilderland High School, and served as our math circle's co-captain during her junior and senior years. Beth was also a mentor and coach to Schuyler's state championship winning homeschool MATHCOUNTS team back when he was an eighth grader. Beth is now a senior at MIT, where she has been a lead organizer of the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. She has also been a coach for the Upstate New York AllStar Math Team, which will represent Upstate New York at the national high school math tournament at Penn State next month. Schuyler is a senior veteran member of that team.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Math Circle student runs for school board

Math Circle member Rich Reitz is running for a seat on the Niskayuna Board of Education in the upcoming school district election on May 17.

His biography on the school district website illustrates that our math circle students have interests that span many dimensions beyond mathematics:

Richard Reitz is seeking a first term on the Board of Education. Currently a senior at Niskayuna High School and a lifelong district resident, Reitz, who will be graduating in June, has attended Niskayuna schools for the past 13 years.

Reitz plans to attend Schenectady County Community College beginning in the fall. He also plans to cross-register in math courses through Union College. Reitz achieved AP Scholar with Honor status while at the high school. He has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for community service each of the last four years (2007-2010) and anticipates receiving the award in 2011.

Reitz currently serves as co-president of Nisky S.T.A.R.T. (Students Today are Recycling Together), the recycling club at Niskayuna High School. An accomplished musician, he is also a cellist in the Empire State Youth Orchestra.

Reitz is also active in community clubs and organizations. As of April 15, he has achieved Eagle Scout status. He also participates as a member of Cap City Bang Bang, a local ultimate Frisbee team.

The other two candidates are incumbent board members John Buhrmaster and Deb Oriola. Their biographies are available here.

Interested voters can meet all three candidates tomorrow evening (May 2) at 7 p.m. at the annual "Meet the Candidates Night" at Van Antwerp Middle School Auditorium.

UPDATE 5/18/11: The election had a record turnout of 3,305 voters, the highest total in over a decade. Although Rich did not win a seat on the School Board, over 38% of the voters cast ballots for him.