It all adds up for K-State math


The K-State Department of Mathematics had more to celebrate than Pi Day this week. Several K-State students participated in the Kansas Collegiate Mathematics Competition held at Baker University.

Virginia Naibo, assistant professor of mathematics and KCMC advisor, said the competition takes place every spring in a Kansas college or university and is set up by the Kansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

The team consisted of six K-State students: Dakota Bixler, junior in mathematics and electrical engineering; Hui Cao, senior in mathematics; Na Long, sophomore in mathematics; Brian Moore, senior in mathematics and electrical engineering; Brian Tierney, senior in mathematics and electrical engineering and Yuan Yan, sophomore in mathematics.

Bixler, Moore and Tierney received first place in the team competition and Cao, Long and Yan placed second.

“The test was five questions long and we had three hours to complete five math proofs,” said Tierney, a member of the first place team.

The test focused on solving theorems.

“Many people think mathematicians are number crunchers, but they really like ideas and nice results,” Tierney said. “For example, we were given a chess board with all the pieces on the last problem of the test. We had to show how to cover the entire chess board with dominos by removing two chess pieces.”

Tierney said he enjoys competing in these type of math competition because they help him expand his knowledge in engineering.

“The reason I study math is so I can gather more intuition and insight into my double major, which is engineering,” he said. “I take these math competitions as a way to gather more information about math and engineering.”

Naibo congratulated the teams for taking the top spots in the competition, praised the students’ mathematical abilities, and said the math department was very proud of them.

To get involved in next year’s competition, students are offered a mathematics class to help improve their skills.

“The mathematics department offers a seminar during the fall semester called the Putnam Seminar,” Naibo said. “This is a great opportunity for the students to prepare for various mathematics competitions such as the Putnam Competition, the Parker Competition and the Kansas Collegiate Mathematics Competition.”