Senior Alex Chung placed 7th out of 13 finalists at the 2020 Who Wants To Be A Mathematician (WWTBAM) Championships , hosted by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 18.
“Other math team kids told me about the competition and I was interested because it’s a lot of free money. Aso it’s similar to MATHCOUNTS in that its solving hard problems in a short amount of time and I won Virginia MATHCOUNTS and had a good time,” Chung said.
In order to qualify for the competition, Chung — who also attended the competition last year — had to go through two rounds of testing in which he solved problems from a range of math topics. To make it past the first round, he needed a score of 7/10 and to get past the second round, he needed the best score in his region.
“I was surprised when I qualified for the second time because [although] it takes skill [it] also [takes] some luck,” Chung said. “ButI was excited to be able to participate again because everything’s expenses-paid and I get to meet a lot of other cool people at the Joint Math Meetings there.”
Although Chung ultimately did not walk home with the $10,000 winning prize, he nonetheless believes that the competiton was a rewarding experience.
“I got to see my math practice give me real results like being able to represent the Mid-Atlantic region in this math competition,” Chung said. “I [also] learned the power these competitions [have] in motivating people to continue pursuing math at a high level.”