Words such as domain, subset, prime and parallelogram might not excite everyone, but a math event Thursday featuring such terms attracted an enthusiastic group of about 130 high school students.
"This is, like, suspenseful," Wagener-Salley High School senior Lindsey Fulmer said as a theater crowd at Fort Discovery waited to see if Augusta Preparatory Day School senior Andrew Ding had correctly answered a final question in a Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game.
Andrew gave the right answer and won the game's top prize earnings of $3,000. The game, modeled after the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire , was part of the day's 2009 Arnold Ross Lecture event, which is hosted annually by the American Mathematical Society for skilled high school math students.
The game included two rounds with a total of eight students from area schools. The winner of each round took a $500 prize and graphing calculator. The game ended with the winners of those rounds -- Andrew and Taylor Harvey of Wagener-Salley High School -- squaring off for another $500 round and then the chance to answer a bonus $2,000 question.
As correct answers were announced, dozens of students in the audience cheered on their respective school representative, sometimes guessing the answers, other times sighing with a "huh?" when complex questions were posted.
"That makes my head hurt," Lindsey joked as she looked at one of the answers.
Andrew said he would take his $3,000 winnings and likely use it for a summer camp. He said the day was a perfect outing for him because he loves math.
The day also included a lecture by Dana Randall, a professor of computer science and adjunct professor of mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Andrew said he enjoyed the lecture, adding that he learned how math can lead to other fields such as biology, chemistry and physics.
Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.