Point Grey Math Students Invited to High Level Theoretical Math Camp
Last summer, while many of their peers were immersed in World of Warcraft or canoeing around a lake at summer camp, Point Grey students Noah Bayless and Lucy Lu were busy bending their minds around theoretical math problems that would give even seasoned mathematicians a moment of pause.
Bayless and Lu were among 26 students from the Pacific Northwest invited to attend a six week, all expenses paid math camp hosted by the University of Washington called SIMUW. During the camp, the Point Grey students learned about extremely high-level and creative mathematics including ring theory, graph theory and Escher.
“The instructors were all outstanding, brilliant, and charismatic university professors and the T.A.s were all graduate students,” says Bayless. “We stayed in dorms at the university and we went on regular excursions through Seattle. For many of us, it was our first taste of what a university environment is like.”
Bayless says the camp reminded him of other traditional summer camps except for one thing.
“You’d be there and it would be like a normal summer camp experience and then someone would say ‘So, I was thinking of this math problem…’ and everything would snap to attention,” he said.
To qualify for the camp, both Bayless and Lu had to demonstrate their “math chops” by answering a series of eight questions like the following:
Not an easy task and one which took Bayless weeks to sort through.
It is that initiative to embrace this opportunity, which Point Grey principal Irfan Sheikh says is most impressive.
“I give them a lot of credit for understanding the opportunity and going out and saying we need to do it,” says Sheikh.
While math was the main highlight for both students, Lu says the opportunity to explore downtown Seattle and compete in a mock Iron Chef cooking competition were a great deal of fun.
“The program made me more of a team player and more sociable,” said Lu. “Academically it made me learn about how to think, not what to think.”
The camp is open to any VSB math enthusiasts. Both Lu and Bayless encourage interested students to apply at www.simuw.net. The program will run June 29th to August 9th and will continue accepting applications until all spaces are filled.