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Bangalore’s Very Own Math Wizard Makes The City Proud

As a country, we are blessed with abundant talent. Our kids keep winning science competitions, spell bees on the international stage. One such student, who has made Bangalore proud is Akash Dhiraj. He is a Math Aficionado and the founder of mathcircles.com, which is a community to help students across the world find or create a gathering of Math enthusiasts. He has a passion for complex pure mathematics problems.

Akash along with his friend Ananya Gupta have founded Math Wars.”Math Wars” (math-wars.com) is the first international, online mathematics contest platform designed in collaboration with students from Indus International School Bangalore and The International School Bangalore, both located in south India. High school students (in grades 9 through 12) from across the world have a chance to challenge themselves, think creatively, and learn from participating and competing in a time-bound quarterly Math Competition. Students can learn, collaborate, and compete to win the grand prize of being crowned ‘MATH WARS 2020 Champions’. Math-Wars.com is being built to become a great platform for Math Students worldwide to showcase their extraordinary Math skills.

What is the purpose/inspiration for Math Wars?

Math is Fun! Mathematics goes by a variety of labels, yet it lacks, arguably, the most important one. Many feel that the elegant parts of the subject are hidden by some invisible barriers and that only mathematicians are privy to these mathematical secrets. This isn’t true! There are examples of great mathematics all around us and, with some guidance, anyone can appreciate these. Math Wars is an extension of our hope to make thinking deeply about mathematics mainstream. We present a series of interesting problems, all of which are accessible to the average high school student, in the hope that they will feel enthused to attack one, thinking carefully about its meaning.

A lot of us have found it tough to feel the excitement of mathematics due to the COVID’19 situation, as we’ve migrated to a virtual world with less interaction and contact with others. As high-school students ourselves, we miss the classroom environment that allows for random discussions, learnings outside of what’s coming in a test, and entrenching ourselves into the competitive and collaborative spirit in math class. In our math classes, my teachers often split us up into random groups and we engage in epic feats in a race to be the group who get the answer first! We miss collaborating within our group and our class and know that our peers do too. Then came Math Wars! We were extremely excited about this idea and began brainstorming ideas. We have created this contest to allow for some spirited competition to revive that zealous engagement with this subject!

You may be surprised about why we call it “Math Wars”?  

The 15th Century was filled with mathematical duels in which mathematicians would pose problems to each other. Naturally, the victor was the one who solved the most problems and gained fame, exposure, and notoriety. The birth of cubic and quartic formulas along with the birth of the complex numbers are deeply embedded in these duels. Hence, we chose the name ‘Math Wars’ as an homage to this old practice and its everlasting impact on mathematics.

What outcomes were achieved?

For Math Wars 2020, we received registrations from passionate students across 4 countries, and we were extremely inspired by their excitement to learn, creatively problem solve, and to explore the unfamiliar realms of mathematics! The top 5 Winners for our inaugural duel were:  

  1. Sayandeep Shee (Math Wars Champion)
  2. Chui Tsz Fung & Swapnaneel Bhattacharya (Tied 1st Runners-Up)
  3. Alan Abraham (2nd Runners Up)
  4. Brian Li

Profile of the creators of Math Wars –  

Akash Dhiraj is a Math Aficionado and the founder of mathcircles.com, which is a community to help students across the world find or create a gathering of Math enthusiasts. He has a passion for complex pure mathematics problems.

Ananya Gupta is passionate about math, technology, and gender equality. She is the founder of gritparity.com, which uses Artificial Intelligence to quantify gender representation in textbooks. She co-founded the Girl Up club at TISB, which takes action to improve gender equality in our community and city.

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