3.14: Tackling Task Nationwide

3.14: Tackling Task Nationwide

Dr. Lyudmila Tovarnichenko, Associate Professor of Astrakhan State University's Chair of Mathematics & Mathematics Teaching Technique, has told us about our students' participation in a national online test in Math.

On March 14 (the Pi Day), the Yandex company (Russia's top search engine) backed by the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (one of Russia's top universities) arranged the intellectual mathematical contest "This Is What Was Required to Prove". Students of Astrakhan State University (the Department of World Economy & Management and the Department of Business & Economy) have taken part in the contest, too.

Before starting to tackle the problems suggested by the contest organizers, the participants have been presented the history of the number π and told about the unofficial holiday that mathematicians celebrate on March 14. It was Dr. Tovarnichenko who gave a presentation related to this event: "The π issue is about 4, 000 old", she remarked. "A whole number of renowned scholars dealt with it. One of them, Ludolph van Ceulen, dedicated his whole life to studies of this universal constant. The date of this holiday wasn't selected by chance: March 14 is written as 3/14 in the US date format (month/day/year), which coincides with the approximate value of π".

The online test dedicated to this holiday included 10 tasks that met the basic level of knowledge of Math and that were of applied character: the students had to calculate the surface area, to compute a human's movement duration considering with time zone differences, to calculate the distance between two geographical points, etc. There were also tasks related to everyday life: to determine in which of the stores one could buy these or those goods at the highest discount rate. According to Dr. Tovarnichenko, it was the task about an electronic watch (digits on whose face consist of several lines) that was the most complicated one. The task requested to determine the time when the maximal amount of lines changes within just one minute. The right answer was between 19:59 and 20:00 (12 lines).

During the intellectual contest, our students have obtained good skills of applying the theoretical knowledge of Elementary Mathematics in practice. And what is more essential, the participants have got teamwork experience, which will certainly be of real value in their future professional careers.

Interviewed by T.Yu. Gavrilkina (the Innovative Laboratory of Information Linguistics of ASU)

Translated by E.I. Glinchevskiy (the Center of Translation Studies & Conference Interpreting “ASTLINK” of ASU)