M3 Challenge segment to air on Classroom Close-up, NJ

December 1, 2008

Manalapan High School team to be featured

Classroom Close-up, NJ will air a segment on the 2008 Moody's Mega Math Challenge first runner-up team from Manalapan High School in Manalapan, NJ, on Monday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m. and again on Saturday, December 6, at 9:00 a.m. on local NJN stations. It can also be viewed online throughout the week of December 1 at http://njn.net/television/njnseries/classroomcloseup/season08-09/08-09-7.html. (Click on "Watch Current Show" after 8:00 p.m. Monday evening.)

The Classroom Close-up, NJ segment highlights the Manalapan High School team of Michael Bacsik, Jephthah Liddie, Joshua Newman, Thomas Sozzi, and Kevin Tien, all seniors at the time, along with their coach and math teacher, Jessy Friedman. The team won $15,000 for their second-place solution paper, Going Green Does Not Save Green: Corn-based Ethanol and U.S. Energy Independence. Remarkably, Manalapan High School has placed two teams in the top 11 each year of the Challenge. In 2008, Manalapan teams received second place and an honorable mention award. In 2007, teams from Manalapan took both first and second place, and in 2006, Manalapan teams won fifth place and honorable mention honors.

Over 250 teams from lower New Hampshire to Wilmington, Delaware, submitted viable solutions to the 2008 Challenge problem, Energy Independence Meets the Law of Unintended Consequences. They were required to address issues associated with increased corn-derived ethanol production and fuel substitution and relate these matters to dramatic and unanticipated rises in farm commodity pricing, the future of food supplies in developing nations, the effect on carbon dioxide emissions, and the cost-effectiveness of producing ethanol. Teams had 14 hours to quantify these concerns using mathematical-modeling techniques, develop and defend their models, and justify their conclusions. Judging for Moody's Mega Math Challenge is blind with judges knowing teams only by their team number, until the final round of judging. In 2008, eleven teams were awarded scholarship prizes totaling $65,000.

Classroom Close-up, NJ is a magazine program focusing on innovative education in New Jersey's public schools. This 30-minute weekly series features the students, teachers, and communities who create and participate in successful school projects and events. Season highlights include arts education, conflict resolution, and literacy programs. Classroom Close-up, NJ is a co-production of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) and NJN Public Television, with additional funding provided by PSE&G. For more information on Classroom Close-up, NJ, visit http://njn.net/television/njnseries/classroomcloseup/.

For information about the 2009 M3 Challenge, including how to register your team, visit http://m3challenge.siam.org.

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About the Challenge
The M3 Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society. Scholarship prizes total $80,000. The Challenge is entirely Internet-based and there are no entrance or participation fees. High schools in New England and Mid-Atlantic states may enter up to two teams of three to five students each. Students choose which day they wish to work on Challenge weekend and have 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on real-world issues. Teams can work from any location they choose and can use any free and publicly available resources, but they may not discuss any aspect of the problem with, or seek help from, their coach or anyone other than their teammates. Complete details, sample problems, and archives of previous winners and Challenge events are available at http://m3challenge.siam.org.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) awarded Moody's Corporation a 2008 Excellence Award for Moody's Mega Math Challenge, citing the company's "sophisticated giving program that encourages students to develop a passion for mathematics, economics, and finance."

About the Sponsor
The Moody's Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting a variety of nonprofit education, health and human services, civic, and arts and culture programs. Established by Moody's Corporation in 2001, the Foundation's primary area of giving is secondary and higher education with a focus on mathematics, economics and finance. Further information is available at http://philanthropy.moodys.com.

Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO), an essential component of the global capital markets, provides credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to stable, transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics, encompassing Moody's non-ratings businesses. With revenues of $2.3 billion in 2007, Moody's employs approximately 3,600 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 27 countries. Further information is available at www.moodys.com.

About the Organizer
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is an international society of almost 12,000 individual members. These include applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners from 85 countries in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at www.siam.org.


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