The answers added up quite well for Stephen Lamontagne on Friday morning, Jan. 6.
The senior at Barrington High School tied for second place overall at the “Who Wants to Be a Mathematician” national competition in Boston. He walks away with $6,000 in prize money – half for himself and half for the high school math department.
Stephen competed against nine other math whizzes from across the country. He could not be immediately reached Friday afternoon. But Mike Breen, who ran the competition for the American Mathematical Society (AMS), said he did extremely well.
Stephen scored enough points in the semifinal round to get to the finals. In the finals, said Breen: “Steve was sharp but the other kid was sharper. Speed really counted in the final round. The other kid was hot.”
Stephen had to answer multiple-choice questions about algebra, trigonometry, probability and math history. Breen said the final-round questions involved a lot of trigonometry.
“They were really tough,” he said.
It wasn't until after the final round, however, that it was discovered "a snafu in the semifinal round" gave him more points than two other competitors, Stephen said Saturday morning. At least one of them should have advanced to the finals.
Given the situation, Stephen said, AMS ruled that he tied with the two other competitors for second place. It did not change the prize money he received.
Stephen said he will be donating a portion of his share of the prize money to a charity to be determined.
AMS sponsored the competition as part of its annual Joint Mathematics Meeting at the Hynes Convention Center.
Click here to see the Patch story on Steven after he qualified for the competition on Friday morning.