Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
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Contact: Karthika Muthukumaraswamy
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

High school students offer recycling solutions for a possible share of $115,000

55 teams identified to receive scholarship prizes

Philadelphia, PA—Consider it a 30-million-ton problem. Of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced around the world each year, over 30 million winds up as plastic waste.

Quantifying this waste, coming up with the best methods for U.S. cities to recycle it, and recommending guidelines for nationwide recycling standards was the task faced by the nearly 6,000 U.S. high school students who competed in Moody's Mega Math Challenge in early March.

After the students were done with their part, contest judges— more than 150 professional applied mathematicians from all over the country—did some quantifying of their own, whittling down the original 1,054 submissions to the top papers worthy of recognition.

Of the initial submissions, 175 papers advanced to the second round of judging that took place in Philadelphia this past weekend, where judges identified 55 teams that will receive a share of the $115,000 in scholarship prizes offered by the contest's sponsor, The Moody's Foundation. This includes the top six teams, which will square off against one another on April 29 in the final phase of the contest where they will present their findings to a panel of judges who will determine the final rank order.

The annual applied math contest is organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and requires high school students to use hard numbers and objective evaluations to come up with solutions for a very pertinent issue. One of the goals of the contest, now in its eighth year, is to inspire future scientists and engineers to careers in applied math, economics, and finance.

The Finalist teams, or top six overall, listed below in alphabetical order, will receive scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 based on their final rank order.

Evanston Township High School, Team #1497, Evanston, Illinois; Coach: Mark Vondracek

Montgomery Blair High School, Team #1356, Silver Spring, Maryland; Coach: David Stein

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Team #2035, Durham, North Carolina; Coach: Daniel Teague

North Penn High School, Team #1851, Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Coach: Dianne Wakefield

T.R. Robinson High School, Team #1370, Tampa, Florida; Coach: Judi Charley-Sale

Wayzata High School, Team #2559, Plymouth, Minnesota; Coach: Thomas Kilkelly

In addition, six Semi-Finalist prizes are awarded to teams whose papers underwent in-depth discussion and are deemed of exceptional quality by judges. They will receive prizes of $1,500 each. Teams from 43 additional schools are recognized with Honorable Mention distinction. Prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded to each team for noteworthy submissions.

Find the full list of teams, including Semi-Finalists and Honorable mentions here: http://m3challenge.siam.org/pdf/winning_teams_13.pdf


About the Sponsor

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation. Moody's is committed to supporting education, in particular the study of mathematics, finance and economics. The Foundation also funds specific initiatives in the areas of health and human services, arts and culture, civic and economic development programs. These programs are primarily located in New York City. Grants are also made in San Francisco, California, San Francisco, California; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and London, England.

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $2.3 billion in 2011, employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 28 countries. Further information is available at http://www.moodys.com.

About the Organizer

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from more than 100 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at http://www.siam.org.