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Jessica Stephenson

Posts: 40
Registered: 1/23/08
High school students' paper published in prestigious college math journal
Posted: Jan 15, 2009 12:19 PM
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Jessica Stephenson

Project Public Awareness

Moody's Mega Math Challenge/SIAM

Phone: 215-382-9800 x383


Thursday, January 15, 2009

High school students' paper published in prestigious college math

M3 Challenge Champions' work highlighted

Philadelphia, PA- A paper written by four students from High Technology
High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, entitled Ethanol: Not All It Seems
To Be has been published in the January 2009 issue of The Mathematical
Association of America's College Mathematics Journal. The paper, which
was the winning submission in the 2008 Moody's Mega Math Challenge, is
the first M3 Challenge entry to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
It was submitted to the Internet-based applied math competition last
March by Afanasiy Yermakov and Jason Zukus, current seniors at High
Technology High School, Tom Jackson, now a freshman at Cornell
University, and Kelly Roache, currently a freshman at Princeton
University. Coached by their math teacher Dr. Raymond Eng, the students
shared $20,000 in scholarship prizes for their efforts.

The paper, which was researched and written in less than 14 hours per
contest rules, concluded that, in addition to the negative economic and
environmental implications of replacing gasoline with ethanol, the plan
would not be cost effective until oil prices reached over $233 per
barrel. The students also found that corn-derived ethanol might not be
the best alternative form of energy, suggesting that nuclear power may
actually be a better choice for attaining national energy independence.
The paper can be accessed at

Over 250 teams from lower New Hampshire to Wilmington, Delaware,
submitted viable solutions to the 2008 Challenge problem, Energy
Independence Meets the Law of Unintended Consequences. Student teams
were required to address issues associated with increased corn-derived
ethanol production and fuel substitution and relate these matters to
dramatic and unanticipated rises in farm commodity pricing, the future
of food supplies in developing nations, the effect on carbon dioxide
emissions, and the cost-effectiveness of producing ethanol. Teams had 14
hours to quantify these concerns using mathematical-modeling techniques,
develop and defend their models and justify their conclusions. Judging
for Moody's Mega Math Challenge is blind, with judges knowing teams only
by their team ID number until the final round of judging. In 2008,
eleven teams were awarded scholarship prizes totaling $65,000.

The Challenge is an Internet-based applied mathematics competition that
requires student teams to solve an open-ended, realistic, challenging
modeling problem focused on real-world issues. The Moody's Foundation
initiated and provides the funding for the Challenge; the Society for
Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) organizes and administers the
contest. "Our goal, and the goal of the competition, is to motivate high
school students to think about solving real-world problems using applied
mathematics," said Frances G. Laserson, President, The Moody's
Foundation. "We want to increase students' interest in pursuing studies
and careers related to math, economics, and finance." In 2009, the
Challenge is open to high schools from all New England and Mid-Atlantic
states and will award $80,000 in scholarship prizes.

Published by The Mathematical Association of America, The College
Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and
stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics. It publishes
articles, short Classroom Capsules, problems, solutions, media reviews
and other pieces. All are aimed at the college mathematics curriculum
with emphasis on topics taught in the first two years. More information
can be found at

For more information on the Challenge including photo galleries and
webcasts of the presentations, visit

# # #

About the Challenge
The M3 Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful
problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a
vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society.
Scholarship prizes total $80,000. The Challenge is entirely
Internet-based and there are no entrance or participation fees. Each
high school may enter up to two teams of three to five students each.
Students choose which day they wish to work on Challenge weekend and
have 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling
problem focused on real-world issues. Teams can work from any location
they choose and can use any free and publicly available resources, but
they may not discuss any aspect of the problem with, or seek help from,
their coach or anyone other than their teammates. Complete details,
sample problems, and archives of previous winners and Challenge events
are available at

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) awarded Moody's
Corporation a 2008 Excellence Award for Moody's Mega Math Challenge,
citing the company's "sophisticated giving program that encourages
students to develop a passion for mathematics, economics, and finance."

About the Sponsor
The Moody's Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to
supporting a variety of nonprofit education, health and human services,
civic, and arts and culture programs. Established by Moody's Corporation
in 2001, the Foundation's primary area of giving is secondary and higher
education with a focus on mathematics, economics and finance. Further
information is available at

Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO), an essential component of the global
capital markets, provides credit ratings, research, tools and analysis
that contribute to stable, transparent and integrated financial markets.
Moody's Corporation is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service
and Moody's Analytics, encompassing Moody's non-ratings businesses. With
revenues of $2.3 billion in 2007, Moody's employs approximately 3,600
people worldwide and maintains a presence in 27 countries. Further
information is available at

About the Organizer
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered
in Philadelphia, PA, is an international society of over 11,000
individual members. These include applied and computational
mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and
engineers. Members are researchers, educators, students, and
practitioners from 85 countries in industry, government, laboratories,
and academia. The Society, which also includes more than 500 academic
and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines
of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety
of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting
conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of
mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including
regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

2008 M3 Challenge Champion Team, High Technology High School, Lincroft,
2008 M3 Challenge Champion Team, High Technology High School, Lincroft,

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 184823

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