College Hosts Competition of Mathletes
La Cañada High School ran circles around the competition in Westmont’s 34th annual Mathematics Field Day on Feb. 11 in Winter Hall. About 100 regional high school students matched math wits in the event on the eve of the Super Bowl, but it was La Cañada that was the Overall Winner for 9-10th grades and 11-12th grades.
John Chung from Oaks Christian won Chalk Talk, a 10- to 12-minute presentation on the topic of Fibonacci numbers, which was chosen because it’s the 34th year of the contest and 34 is a Fibonacci number.
“The sequence of Fibonacci numbers starts with 1, 1,” says Anna Aboud, who chairs Westmont’s mathematics department. “After this, each subsequent term is obtained by adding the two previous terms. Thus, the sequence continues with 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.”
This year’s T-shirt design has a picture of the Fibonacci spiral, as well as a formula for the nth Fibonacci number. “Using squares of side lengths given by the Fibonacci numbers, you can draw a Fibonacci spiral, which approximates the golden spiral, a prominent shape found in nature and art,” Aboud says.
Oaks Christian won the Written Team Exams for both 9-10th graders as well as 11-12th graders. The College Bowl competition, complete with buzzers modeled after the 1960s TV show College Bowl, was won by Cate School in the 9-10th grades division, while La Cañada claimed the 11-12th grades contest.
Other competing teams included Dos Pueblos, Providence, Santa Barbara, Laguna Blanca, and San Marcos.
The evening concluded in Westmont’s Global Leadership Center with dinner, an awards ceremony, and a keynote speech from Erik Lucero, site lead of Google Quantum A.I. in Santa Barbara, who talked about how a passion for math led to building a quantum computer.