Scribbling frantically at the blackboard, young math elites from all over the state took turns solving complex math problems in front of a crowd while a two-minute timer ticked away.
Math competitors, both college and high school students, met in Armstrong Hall Thursday evening to compete in the final round of WVU’s 6th annual Integration Bee. 16 students were chosen in a written qualifier round that took place in March.
“There are two things I enjoy the most- good attendance and the finals where the competitors face off in pairs trying to solve integrals at the blackboard,” said Dr. Charis Tsikkou, an associate math professor for WVU.
The room where the competition took place was packed with competitors, supporters and onlookers. The math problems were projected onto a blackboard, waiting to be solved by one of the two students at the board. If neither of them solved it within the allotted time, another problem was given.
Once the problem was solved, the quickest competitor stayed for the next round, safe from elimination.
“Participants seem to actually enjoy a math activity and they are willing to spend 40 minutes at the qualifier and at least 2 hours at the finals to solve integrals, pushing their limits while standing in front of a crowd,” said Tsikkou.
Winning this year’s competition is math major Matthew Richardson, 20, of Morgantown, WV. He eliminated his competitors and took home a $100 bookstore gift card.
“It felt good to win, there are some very smart people at this competition,” said Richardson. “I’m just hoping I’ll be able to buy at least one textbook with the $100 bookstore gift card that I got from it.”
Richardson explained how the Bee was fun, despite being a math competition.
“The best part about it is definitely the atmosphere of the whole thing. It’s very friendly and relaxed,” said Richardson. “If you get stuck, you can take tips from the people in the audience.”