Nineteen math whizzes from as close as Walnut Creek and as far away as Las Vegas spent a week at Saint Mary’s last summer for a math enrichment camp for gifted students.
The camp’s theme was “Serious Play — a look at the serious math behind child’s play.” The young prodigies eagerly tackled the challenging branch of math known as combinatorial and classical game theory, a relatively new field made famous in the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
Evans Hauser, a camper from Piedmont High School, relished the chance to get to know fellow math enthusiasts. “Normally at school, I don’t have a group of friends who are excited about math,” he said with a smile. Nathan Hill, from Walnut Creek, said the camp was more stimulating than other math workshops he had attended. “It’s like an experience of college,” he said.
Professors Chris Jones and Weiwei Pan of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science ran the camp, assisted by math majors Will Overell and Kelsey Ingham. The campers also heard from a panel of Saint Mary’s students about what it takes to major in math or science in college.
Unlike most math camps, the Saint Mary’s experience was free, thanks to a grant from the Dolciani Foundation through the Mathematical Association of America, so students from all economic backgrounds were able to explore advanced math concepts in an engaging summer camp atmosphere.