FOR	  IMMEDIATE	  RELEASE	  PAPER	  OR	  PLASTIC?	  	  Moodys	  Mega	  Math	  Challenge	  checks	  in	  on	  U.S.	  Re...
be	  a	  self-­‐proclaimed	  “nerd,”	  and	  truly	  captures	  the	  spirit	  and	  depth	  of	  applied	  mathematics.”	...
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Press Release: Moody's Mega Math Challenge

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Every five seconds, Americans use 60,000 plastic bags and consume 2,000 bottled drinks (SIERRA), an ecological concern on many minds, including thousands of high school juniors and seniors—5,809 across 29 states—who spent last weekend devising methods to quantify and manage this waste.

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Press Release: Moody's Mega Math Challenge

  1. 1.    FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE  PAPER  OR  PLASTIC?    Moodys  Mega  Math  Challenge  checks  in  on  U.S.  Recycling  PHILADELPHIA,  March  6,  2013  —  Every  five  seconds,  Americans  use  60,000  plastic  bags  and  consume  2,000  bottled  drinks  (SIERRA),  an  ecological  concern  on  many  minds,  including  thousands  of  high  school  juniors  and  seniors—5,809  across  29  states—who  spent  last  weekend  devising  methods  to  quantify  and  manage  this  waste.    The  impetus  for  this  high-­‐minded  task  is  Moody’s  Mega  Math  Challenge,  an  Internet-­‐based  applied  math  contest  organized  by  the  Pennsylvania-­‐based  Society  for  Industrial  and  Applied  Mathematics  (SIAM).  The  goal:  to  spotlight  the  relevancy  and  power  of  mathematics  in  solving  real-­‐world  issues  and  inspire  students  to  pursue  careers  in  STEM-­‐related  fields.  The  contest’s  topic  is  especially  relevant  this  year  as  2013  has  been  designated  the  International  Year  of  Mathematics  of  Planet  Earth  (MPE).    As  part  of  the  MPE  initiative,  more  than  100  scientific  societies,  universities,  research  institutes,  and  organizations  worldwide  have  joined  forces  to  identify  and  solve  fundamental  questions  about  planet  Earth,  encourage  educators  to  communicate  the  issues  related  to  it,  and  inform  the  public  about  the  essential  role  of  the  mathematical  sciences  in  facing  the  challenges  to  our  planet.  The  Mega  Math  Challenge  is  Moody’s  version  of  “think  globally,  act  locally.”    During  Challenge  weekend,  students  were  given  just  14  hours  to  work  in  teams  of  3-­‐5  to  solve  the  problem.  Each  group  had  to  quantify  the  plastic  waste  filling  our  nation’s  landfills,  come  up  with  the  best  recycling  methods  for  U.S.  cities  to  implement  based  on  their  demographics,  and  recommend  guidelines  for  nationwide  recycling  standards.  Between  now  and  April  8,  judges  will  analyze  each  entry,  seeking  inventive  problem-­‐solving  approaches  and  perspectives  using  mathematical  tools.  The  top  six  teams  will  be  invited  to  Moody’s  corporate  headquarters  in  Manhattan  on  April  29  to  present  and  defend  their  solutions  to  a  live  panel  of  professional  applied  mathematician  judges.  Another  49  teams  will  be  designated  as  semi-­‐finalists  or  honorable  mentions.  For  Challenge  participants,  more  than  the  fate  of  the  country’s  environmental  state  is  at  stake;  $115,000  in  scholarship  prizes  will  be  presented  to  winning  teams  by  the  Challenge  sponsor,  The  Moody’s  Foundation.      “We  see  the  Challenge  as  a  great  way  to  make  math  and  science  relevant  and  engaging,”  said  Michelle  Montgomery,  M3  Challenge  Project  Director  for  SIAM.  “Like  the  TBS  hits  Big  Bang  Theory  and  King  of  the  Nerds,  the  Challenge  shows  it’s  cool  to  have  math  and  science  smarts  or  
  2. 2. be  a  self-­‐proclaimed  “nerd,”  and  truly  captures  the  spirit  and  depth  of  applied  mathematics.”  When  the  Challenge  launched  in  2006,  high  school  participation  was  limited  to  the  New  York  Metropolitan  Area.  Today,  29 states are  eligible,  and  Moodys  anticipates  expanding  to  a  national  footprint  by  2016.  This  year,  New  York  and  New  Jersey  were  the  states  with  the  most  teams  registered  (164  and  141,  respectively),  while  Florida  had  124  participating  teams and PAhad 99.  Of  the  1,279  teams  registered  (from  public  and  private  schools),  3,881  of  the  studentsare male  and  1,928  female.  Overcoming  this  gender  gap,  and  compelling  more  young womento  pursue  math-based  careers,  is  one  of  Moodys,  SIAM’s  —and the Challenges—greater   goals.  Media  Inquiries:  Kim  Ettinger    (610)  952-­‐5623,  kim@wardenettingergroup.com  Dawn  Warden-­‐Reeder  (267)  250-­‐8005,  dawn@wardenettingergroup.com   ###  

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