Who Wants to Be a Mathematician returns for 2018/19

Registration for the 2018/19 competition has now closed, but below is some information on the contest.

Are you looking for a chance for all your sixth form mathematicians to take part in an international competition? Are you keen to reward and showcase your best maths students — and the chance to share the winning contestant’s prize of $10,000 with your maths department?

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician is a terrific maths contest for students across America,  Canada and the UK., The best UK students will take part in a live final in London, and the winner will earn a place in the Grand Final in America in January!

The competition is free to enter. The winning student will win an all-expenses paid trip to the United States – earning the right to compete with the brightest students in America and Canada for the grand prize: $5,000 for the winning student and $5,000 for the maths department of that student’s school, courtesy of the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Last year, 1,100 UK students took part, and the winner was Yuji Okitani from Sheffield, who flew to California and put up a strong performance, winning a runners-up price of $1,000.

This year the process for taking part has been simplified to encourage even more teachers and students to take part, and the ten questions are multiple choice (but still challenging).

The UK competition is aimed at sixth formers, who live and study in the UK. This effectively means that students should be at least 16 years old on 1 September, 2018, and should be studying full-time at a secondary school.

Younger students are welcome to enter Round 1, as are students studying at British schools outside the UK, but they are not eligible to go beyond Round 2. Because non-UK-based students and under-16s cannot win the top prize, schools may wish to offer their own prizes, such as a mathematics book for the best score in the school.

  • The first round of the competition is multiple choice, and can be completed any time between September 10th and September 26th. The qualification rounds take place online.
  • All participating students will be able to claim three free pieces of software from Wolfram Research by completing three additional challenges on the Wolfram website.
  • Entrants who score seven or higher in the first online round will qualify for the second online round, taking place October 3rd-19th.
    • If fewer than 20% of students score 7 or above, then that minimal score will be adjusted so that at least the top 20% in Round One will be eligible for Round Two.
  • At least 4 contestants with the highest scores in Round 2 will compete in the UK final in London in November, with the winner qualifying for the Grand Final in the US.
  • In the event of a tie, qualification for the UK final will be decided by Good Thinking based on a range of criteria, such as increasing the geographical spread of finalists and favoring students in their final year of sixth form.
  • All contestants in the UK final will receive a prize pack of maths books and goodies, worth £100.
  • The US final will take place on Saturday, January 19 in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

The UK competition is organized by the charity Good Thinking, with support from the American Mathematical Society, and with the invaluable help of Maplesoft and DigitalEd, the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician technology sponsors

Best wishes,

Simon Singh & Michael Marshall