Mathematika III by IBA Mathematics and Astronomy Club
On the 2nd and 3rd of February, 2018, the IBA Mathematics and
Astronomy Club hosted the 3rd edition of its annual flagship
event - Mathematika III. ‘Mathematika’ is not the name of a
typical Mathematics Contest or an Olympiad where the
participants are required to solve a paper in given time;
rather, it’s a blend of a series of competitions touching a
variety of genre in Mathematical Problem Solving, with logic,
cryptography, arithmetic, mental math and puzzles to name a few.
Mathematika embodies an ideology of taking Mathematics out of
the classroom to a broader canvas of open airs and playing
fields, where problem solving becomes a lot less stressful, if
not more pleasurable. This methodology naturally appeals to a
lot of bright, daring, young minds to come together to challenge
each other, and appreciate where they stack up against their
contemporaries from different institutes of the city.
Mathematika, therefore, hosted a sizeable crowd of around 180
math enthusiasts as it embarked on the 3rd of its edition this
The event got underway with a representative of SOL (School of Leadership), who were one of the sponsors of the event, taking the stage to deliver a few opening remarks and hence, motivating the participants and uplifting their spirits for what was yet to come. Next up on the stage was Acting Patron Dr. Raziuddin who welcomed participants and then Miss Nazia Jabeen, who briefed the participants on how the event would go about. Miss Jabeen is the Manager of the IBA Mathematics and Astronomy Club for the current year and was the person who spearheaded Mathematika III. Next there was a talk by Dr. Ahmad Raza on interesting topic “Mathematical Thinking”. With the end of these talks, the geek- games officially began.
The first contest of a series of contests was ‘RUSH 20’, where teams were made to sit in circles, with participants’ backs facing inwards so that no one could see any other person in the team. The first person was handed a list of 20 question, who’d began with question 1. They would record the corresponding answer and then pass the question sheet to the next participant, who would solve the question which the previous question’s answer had pointed to. This went on until all 20 questions were answered. The participants were allowed a specific number of lifelines, to provide them with a breathing space, which made the contest all the more fun.
The 2nd and 3rd contests in line, ‘Enigma’ and ‘Applied Problems’, began simultaneously after the lunch and prayer break had ended. The teams were broken up in groups of 2s and 3s, for ‘Enigma’ and ‘Applied Problems’ respectively. In ‘Enigma’, teams were each given a riddle to solve and a code to decrypt, which were thematically based upon the popular story of Alan Turing’s decryption of ‘Enigma’ during the 1940s. The correct solution of this riddle earned the teams a special key pertaining to the riddle they solved, which was then required to decrypt the code, and therefore, pass this round.
The ‘Applied Problems’ contest comprised 3 rounds, testing participants’ skills in 3 different areas of Mathematics. In the first round, they were given a timeframe of 15 minutes to solve a mathematical puzzle called ‘Kakuro’. The 2nd round was a test of how creative the participants could be when they were asked to measure an area of a region practically, using real-world objects. The 3rd round, Colour4Maps asked the participants to color a map of a country in such a way that two neighboring regions would not have the same color, which was a toned-down version of the Map-Coloring Problem, that has fascinated mathematicians for many centuries.
With a TED talk, the first day of the event was aptly wrapped up.
The proceedings for the 2nd day started off early in the morning. By 9 a.m. on the 3rd February, the event had swung in full gear as participants were handed over a ‘Grand Equation’, which they were supposed to solve and submit by the end of that day. The fact that the solution was a cohort of 7 answers, which had to be obtained by solving a system of 7 equations, and which in turn had to be formed using the statements given, made the Grand Equation one of the most mind- boggling competitions of the event. This was followed by ‘Snooze it or Lose it’, where mental math skills of the participants were put to test, within a time constraint of 4 minutes per team. One had to keep their nerve to suppress the intimidation caused by the pressure of being watched by everyone while solving those problems on the stage, something which made that round so much amusing to watch.
The ultimate round of the event, ‘Scavenger Hunt’, was the highlight of Mathematika III. Each team had to solve a question, whose correct solution would lead them to a place in IBA where they’d get another question. This would continue until they had solved all the questions. An incorrect solution meant being directed to a wrong place, and hence a time wastage leading to a loss in marks. The synergy with which the participants ran from building to building, solving and submitting questions, was a treat to watch. With the conclusion of ‘Scavenger Hunt’and informative talk by Dr. M Shahid Qureshi on “Mathematics and Mathematicians’ role in developing societies and the world at large”, it was almost the time to say good-bye.
The closing ceremony of Mathematika III hosted the venerable Dr. M Shahid Qureshi, Dr. Raziuddin, and Dr Junaid Alam, as guests of honor. Before the results were announced, the efforts of the whole team of Mathematika III were acknowledged. The honorable professors shared a few words with the participants, expressing their joy over hosting such a math- enthusiastic crowd. 5 top teams were called onto the stage to make the anticipations much more intense. Dr. Junaid was then invited on the stage to announce the runners-up team and winners. The winning team and the runners-ups were awarded money prizes of Rs.25000, and Rs. 10,000 respectively. The euphoric chants of the winning teams were a melody of satisfaction for the team of Mathematika III, as they perceived their months-long hard-work taking its shape in someone else’s happiness.