Mathletes prepare to duke it out

Competitive tension is building in the atmosphere in anticipation of Swarthmore’s first math-stat bowl coming up this Tuesday, February 7. The game-show like tournament will be hosted by Gary Gordon and Liz McMahon, who are both mathematicians and professors at Lafayette College, and will pit sixteen of Swarthmore’s finest math students – “mathletes”- face to face against each other.

Four four-member teams will be competing: The Phenomenologists, comprised of Jenny Barry ’07, George Hang ’07, Michelle Tomasik ’07, and Marci Foster-Molina ’07; The 49-ers, comprised of Natalie Bowlus ’08, Ben Cronin ’08, Alicia de los Reyes ’08, and Andrew Quinton ’08; Reszeg Vagyunk (aka Team Budapest), comprised of Paul Blain ’06, Sally Hall ’06, Herschel Pecker ’06, and Dan Sullivan ’07; and Derivatize This!, comprised of James Nakamura ’09, Ben Plotkin-Swing ’09, Emily Sun ’09, and Nick Szapiro ’09.

The tournament will be a battle of speed and skill; not only will the players need to answer the questions correctly to get points, but they also will need to be the first to ring the buzzer. Cheryl Grood, one of the organizers of the competition, described the questions as ranging from “numerical to historical to ridiculous.” Successful contestants will need to know information on prime numbers, important and ridiculous facts about mathematicians throughout history (such as whether Euclid wore boxers or jockey shorts), and trivia on members of the math-stat department.

The victorious team will receive a polyhedral trophy and, more importantly, rights to brag about winning the first ever Swarthmore math-stat bowl. If the bowl is a success, it may become an annual tradition here at Swarthmore.

Everyone is welcome to come to the math-stat bowl on Tuesday at 4:30 PM in Science Center 101 to cheer on favorite “mathletes.” According to Cheryl Grood, students who come to watch the event should plan to “enjoy the delicious refreshments, the camaraderie, and the thrill of competition.”


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