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Lakehead University, TD Canada Trust Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Contest
Contest Date: May 10, 2006
Awards Night: May 17, 2006
May 10, 2006 Contest Schedule
8:45 - 9:30 Registration in Ryan Building 1042
9:45 -11:00 Individual Competition in Ryan Building 1042
11:15 - 12:45 Annual Contest Photo and Lunch for Contest participants in the L.U. Outpost
1:00 -2:30 Team Competition, Room Assignments are posted outside RB-1042
For more information please write the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 â€"random walkâ€ 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 contestâ€™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 University.
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.