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Winners announced for NIU Math Contest

April 29, 2013

Photo of math equation on the chalkboardShe goes by only one name but can sure put two and two together.

Huri, a freshman who uses only the single name and is native of China, took home first place in this year’s Northern Illinois University Mathematics Contest.

The NIU computer science major, who is more immediately from Maple Grove, Minn., outscored a field of eight other contestants to capture the $100 prize.

Second place and $75 went to Bartlett native Taylor Brysiewicz, a junior mathematical sciences major. Robert Marks, of Crystal Lake, a junior mathematical sciences major emphasizing probability and statistics, took the $50 third-place prize.

The winners were recognized April 21 at the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ Awards Ceremony and Reception.

The annual Northern Illinois University Mathematics Contest, in its 28th year, is open to all full-time undergraduates at NIU. The contest format gives freshmen and sophomores a fair chance to compete with juniors and seniors because underclassmen have fewer restrictions on their choices of problems to attempt.

Each contestant turns in solutions to a choice of six out of 11 problems. Topics this year ranged from high school-level algebra, number theory and counting problems to calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. Professors Harvey Blau, James Benson and Gleb Sirotkin supervised the competition.

Think you might have what it takes to be an NIU math champion? Here are two of the elementary problems from the contest:

  • It’s getting warmer and it’s time to get some ice cream. An ice cream shop has 10 flavors of ice cream and five topping flavors. Your ice cream platter can contain up to 3 scoops of ice cream (not necessarily different flavors) and one to three different toppings poured over the whole dish. The order of items in the dish does not matter. How many unique platters are there?
  • Find all solutions x, y to log(x-y) = (log x) – (log y).