Archive for January, 2011

Amy Chyao was also recently interviewed by D Magazine.

How a Plano Student Uses Light to Fight Cancer

Amy Chyao is a self-taught chemistry superstar and certifiable genius. But it’s not a big deal.

Q: In May, you won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a project titled “Lights, Quantum Dots, Action!” Can you explain the project in a way that even I will understand?

A: It’s really not that complicated, in essence. It’s for a cancer treatment. Chemotherapy attacks healthy cells. And surgery can cause infections. So the good thing about this treatment, photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is that it doesn’t have either of these problems. The only real reason that we don’t use it today is because it’s activated by light, and it’s hard to penetrate deeper into the skin to reach the deeper tumors. What we were working on was making a drug that will allow us to reach deeper tumors with PDT. It’s an existing treatment. We’re just trying to design a new drug that will help it be even better.



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Our own Amy Chyao is receiving a great honor tonight as she has been invited to sit with the First Lady during the State of the Union speech:

PLANO (January 25, 2011)—Among First Lady Michelle Obama’s guests Tuesday night during the State of the Union address will be Plano East High School junior Amy Chyao, 16, and her father.

Chyao was chosen after meeting President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair, where she presented a design for a cancer-treating photo-sensitizer.

Mr. Obama later called her an example of America’s potential in one of his speeches.

Chyao said she’s honored by the invitation.

She met then first lady Laura Bush in 2007 after she won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.


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Several of our local schools distinguished themselves in the recent AMC 8 with high team scores:

  • Score: 67 – A & M Consolidated Ms, College Station
  • Score: 68 – Westbrook Intermediate, Friendswood
  • Score: 70 – Eudaimonia Academy Home School, Frisco
  • Score: 73 – Harmony School Of Advancement, Houston
  • Score: 74 – Quail Valley Ms, Missouri City
  • Score: 67 – Fowler Middle School, Plano
  • Score: 72 – Rice Ms, Plano
  • Score: 66 – Wyatt Elementary, Plano
  • Score: 73 – First Colony Ms, Sugar Land
  • Score: 75 – Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land

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The list of students with perfect scores on the 2010 AMC 8 has been published.  Here are the students who earned this honor in Texas, including our own Jeffrey Huang!

  • Patrick Guo, Noel Grisham Middle, Austin
  • Vincent Liu, Harmony School Of Advancement, Houston
  • Benjamin Ofomata, Quail Valley Ms, Missouri City
  • Brent Zhang, Quail Valley Ms, Missouri City
  • Jeffrey Huang, Rice Ms, Plano
  • Victor Fu, First Colony Ms, Sugar Land
  • Kevin Chen, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land
  • Steven Jiang, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land
  • Hans Li, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land
  • Zachary Tu, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land
  • Shomik Verma, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land
  • Alexander Yang, Fort Settlement Ms, Sugar Land

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We were very pleased to have our neighbor, Dr. Dimitar Grantcharov deliver the lecture this past Saturday.  He focused his talk around some engaging and deep problems from his last contest at UT Arlington: UTA 2010 Competition Problems.

The students enjoyed solving each problem and then exploring greater depth and generalizations beyond their solutions.  This was an excellent way to better prepare them for the upcoming AMC and AIME contests.

As a reminder, February 5th there will be no Metroplex Math Circle so students can go to Arlington to compete in the Second Annual UT Arlington Math Competition where they will encounter similar challenging problems.

Dr. Grantcharov is also kicking off a new semester of his own math circle in Arlington:

Dear (MC)^2 Friends:

Our first Spring 2011 Math Circle meeting will be held next Tuesday, January 25, at 7:00 pm in PKH 107. Please note that we will meet in a new room this semester. The Mid-Cities Math Circle will run every week and every meeting will last about 60 minutes. The first two meetings will be AMC10-AIME problem-solving sessions.

As usual, the Math Circle is intended for high-school and advanced middle-school students. Teachers are welcome to come to the meetings as well. The web site of the Mid Cities Math Circle is www.midcitiesmathcircle.org

If you plan to come next Tuesday and do not know where to park, a good option would be to use the Garage right next to PKH. Please, keep the parking receipts, so that I can reimburse you later. Maps of the campus can be downloaded at http://www.uta.edu/maps/pdf

Snacks and drinks will (hopefully) be provided. Also, there are still a few copies of the book of Zvezdelina Stankova “A Decade of the Berkeley Math Circle” left. You can get a copy for the (special) prize of $20.

Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested in attending our Math Circle. I am looking forward to see you all on Tuesday.

Best regards,


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The New York Times has just published a great profile on Vi Hart, the mathemusician whose videos capture the spirit of math circles!

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Metroplex Math Circle will kick off its spring 2011 semester with a presentation by Dr. Dimitar Grantcharov.    Dr. Grantcharov is an assistant professor at UT Arlington and the director of our neighbor, the Mid Cities Math Circle.  Dr. Grantcharov will use problems from last year’s UT Arlington Math Competition to help prepare our students for the upcoming AMC 10, 12 and AIME.  Here are some examples:

  • Which of the following numbers is a perfect square?
    (A) 98!99! (B) 98! 100! (C) 99! 100! (D) 99!101! (E) 101!101!
  • A square has sides of length 10, and a circle centered at one of its vertices has radius 10. What is the area of the union of the regions enclosed by the square and the circle?
  • A game is played with tokens according to the following rule. In each round, the player with the most tokens gives one token to each of the other players and also places one token in the discard pile. The game ends when some player runs out of tokens. Players A, B, and C start with 15, 14, and 13 tokens, respectively. How many rounds will there be in the game?



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    The detailed score break down has been published for the 2010 AMC 8.  Congratulations to all of the participants from Texas.


    But these good results are accompanied by a distressingly low level of participation.   In Texas only 90 schools participated with slightly over 4,000 students.   This is only about one fourth the participation by students in California and one third the participation from China (not including Hong Kong).

    If Texas wants to serve its children in the global, information economy, it needs to prepare and allow more of them to compete internationally.

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    Yet another Vi Hart doodling video, this time with a Christmas theme!

    In this video she echoes the point made by our own Dr. Paul Stanford that every number has fascinating properties if you just think hard enough about them.

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