Math Team Shines in National Competition

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A team of three Agnes Scott students was one of only 44 teams in the country to earn a meritorious rating in the 2013 Mathematical Contest in Modeling this spring. Winnie Jiang ‘14, Quynh Le ‘14 and Lexi Wang ’14 became “Meritorious Winners” by placing in the top 15 percent of the 5,636 participating teams, beating out students from Stanford, John Hopkins and Harvard.

Agnes Scott math teams“America’s Next Top Modelers,” another ASC team consisting of Amelia Allen ‘14, Yiyi Shen ‘13 and Samantha Allen ’14, also competed.

Team members selected one of two contest problems displayed on the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) website and had four days to develop a mathematical model for the chosen problem, then write a paper presenting their model and conclusions. Both Agnes Scott teams chose “The Ultimate Brownie Pan” problem.

When baking in a rectangular pan, heat is concentrated in the four corners and the product is overcooked at the corners (and to a lesser extent at the edges). In a round pan, the heat is distributed evenly over the entire outer edge and the product is not overcooked at the edges. However, since most ovens are rectangular in shape, using round pans is not an efficient use of oven space. As part of the competition, students developed a model to show the distribution of heat across the outer edge of a pan for pans of different shapes – rectangular to circular and other shapes in between, and which could be used to select the best type of pan shape to maximize the number of pans that can fit in the oven and which would maximize an even distribution of heat for the pan.

This is the first time since the 1990s that Agnes Scott has participated in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.