WHY ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOL CONTEST?
Mathematics today is increasing as the essential
background of our quantitative and technological environment. Some
students now in high school will go on to successful careers in
mathematics itself, but more will use and apply mathematical reasoning
in a wide range of professions. There are other well-established high
school math contests, but mostly they seek to discover mathematical
superstars, while we hope to stimulate the mathematical talents and the
mathematical confidence of the stars and those going on to careers in
teaching, information sciences, engineering, medicine, skilled trades,
commerce, banking and business, and many others. For example, one very
important area of applications of Mathematics is Genetics, of
worldwide, national and particular interest to Northern Ontario.
Modern genetics uses probability and statistics to
learn how genes interact and evolve. The mix of genes passed on to
children is a random draw from those of the parents. This randomness
can be used to find answers to the important question of how far apart
are two genes on a chromosome. The mathematical theory of the “random
walk” describes the evolution of gene variants and can be used to
determine how large a population of an endangered species must be to
avoid catastrophic loss of genetic variability and extinction. At the
level of molecules genes are instructions in a vast and complex program
that tells how to run our cells. One of the big unsolved problems in
basic Physics and Chemistry is the Geometry Problem to determine how
proteins will fold, given the genetic code for the protein, and many
real-world applications of genetics to medicine require a solution to
that problem. Among many other areas of math used in modern genetics
are Graph Theory, to analyse networks of interacting genes, Game Theory
to discover how genes affecting behaviour evolve in competition or
cooperation with one another, and Complexity Theory to predict how the
complexity of an organism can be specified and managed by its genes.
Mathematics is a group and social activity, and our
contest emphasizes that aspect through concentration on team problem
solving, in addition to individual efforts. From our experience in the
first three contests we are encouraged by evidence that the team aspect
is particularly attractive to those who participate.
THE FIRST THREE CONTESTS
Beginning with 2003 our contests have expanded from 70 contestants to 135 in 2005.
TD CANADA TRUST has been our principal donor for contest
costs, and we are pleased that they will continue for 2006. Our other
donors, regional and national, are listed below. We feel that their
contributions will be more than returned by the stimulation and
retention of local talent in Northwestern Ontario.
THE CANADIAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY AND A REGIONAL CONTEST.
For 2006, and later contests, we made application to
the Canadian Mathematical Society for support under their Endowment
Grants Program for contest support, particularly to support an
expansion to the region of NW Ontario. Our request was favourably
received and is being supported by the Society. Thus we are
approaching a number of high schools outside of Thunder Bay to test
their interest in participating in 2006. We are particularly
encouraged by this recognition by the Society of the value of our
contest. We hope that will provide additional incentives for
participation by both students and teachers because the role of schools
and teachers is clearly vital to the contest’s success.
PRE-CONTEST PROBLEM TUTORIALS
To provide advanced practice for interested students,
there will be a sequence of problem tutorials, starting Wednesday,
February 8 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. room RB 2023, at Lakehead
The sessions will be led by Dr. George Kondor. He is
somewhat flexible in his times but asks those who wish to attend to
come to the Feb 8 session, to discuss plans and select a convenient
time. Only paper and writing implements are needed, calculators will
not be useful. If you cannot come to the first session please e-mail
Dr. Kondor at email@example.com
and state your name, grade, and mathematical background.
CONTESTS OF 2003 and 2004
Some information and pictures from these contests can be found
using the link: These pages are retained for archival purposes only
and not all links may work. Previous Contests.
CONTEST OF 2005
For full information on the 2005 contest, including contest
questions, and solutions, and the after-contest brochure, please use
the links below.
Questions & Solutions
CONTEST OF 2006