For the first time since 1995, Omaha Central High School took first place in the top class of the bowl competition at Nebraska Math Day 2022, which returned to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus after being hosted online for two years.
Fifty-nine Nebraska high schools and nearly 500 students participated in the 33rd annual Math Day on Nov. 17, which consisted of an exam, the fast-paced Math Bowl Swiss-system team competition and interactive challenges and activities. Math Day is designed to spark high school students’ interest in math, to encourage them to pursue a career in mathematics or the mathematical sciences and to recognize outstanding mathematical ability.
New to the event were activities designed by faculty, staff and graduate students in the Department of Mathematics and the School of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; the Actuarial Science program in the College of Business; and the Food Science and Technology Department in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Some of the challenges included a trophy for the winning team of students.
“Math Day has been a staple event for the Department of Mathematics for over three decades, and this year we welcomed students with new activities to engage them and show them that mathematics is in all aspects of our lives, big and small,” said Petronela Radu, professor and chair of mathematics. “Our human minds are constantly optimizing, scheduling, solving problems without us being aware of it. Stopping for a day to ‘do mathematics’ means allowing us to be present in the moment of discovery that is needed to build the tower that overhangs the furthest without collapsing or find how tall a building is by just using string and mathematics.”
Nearly 900 students took the first PROBE (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort) exam concurrently at their respective school classrooms in late October. Forty students came to campus on Nov. 17 to take the PROBE II exam and compete for scholarships to Nebraska.
Shiv Lele of Millard North High School won first place and an $8,000 scholarship. Viet Lai of Scott Middle School in Lincoln earned second, and Calum Heldt of Scottsbluff High School finished third.
Central High defeated Scottsbluff in the competitive class of 24 bowl teams, with Elkhorn South and Lincoln East finishing third and fourth, respectively. In the recreational class of 24 bowl teams, Duchesne Academy in Omaha, Millard South High School, Norfolk Senior High and Bluffs Middle School in Scottsbluff finished first through fourth place, respectively. Learn more results here.
“We are so proud of everyone’s participation, from middle school students to retired volunteers. Nearly one thousand people came together, all excited for the spark of finding a solution, being the fastest on the buzzer button, or working with someone on a hands-on challenge,” Radu said. “We look forward to seeing many of these high school students in our classrooms at Nebraska so we can keep discovering our future together.”