Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alex At The 2014 Berkeley Math Tournament



Song:  Time In A Bottle

Artist:  Jim Croce



Alex participated in a High School math tournament at
the University of California Berkeley just yesterday.

The Davidson Academy team was short members
for this competition, so a member asked Alex to fill in on their team.

Actually, there was at least one other member of the team who is in Middle School.

It was a very LONG day...
but it was worth it

(we left home at 3 AM and arrived at 6 AM.
The registration started at 8 AM...
and the competition went from 9 AM until sometime after 7 PM...
when the award ceremonies completed.
We then ate dinner and drove home...
not arriving at home until 12:30 AM).

Alex loves competing, traveling to the competitions...
meeting others who love math, talking with them about math...
and learning new things at every competition...
if only to learn what a higher level competitive atmosphere entails

(this competition was for advanced High School students...
and some of the best in the nation are from the San Francisco Bay area...
the location of this tournament).



All I have to know is that Alex gets motivated by such events...
he learns more about the types of problems he will be facing in his future
so he may adapt his thinking to newer concepts...
and mostly because...
he greatly enjoys himself at such events.


I am a Father...
and as such...
my time...is my son's time.


Whatever I can do to make Alex's childhood...
not only productive for his advancement toward his dreams...
but to make his childhood one of magical memories...
I will do with joy and great gratitude...
as I get to see the great joy in his face as he experiences each new adventure.


I will gladly drive him to where he competes...
and to photo document his memories for his later perusal...
and for him to have something to show his children one day
(of course, it is also for me to always recall these times of enjoyment with Alex).


-------------

On the eve of the competition...
we went out for our customary pre-competition dinner.

This time we went to a restaurant called
Claim Jumper.







We started out with appetizers of Calamari and chips and spinach/avocado dip.


Alex had chosen the Coconut Shrimp.


I had chosen a barbecue combo platter of...
beef ribs (which were excellent)...
half a rotisserie chicken...
and a half rack of pork ribs (which Alex had half of).


We left here to go home and to rest before our 3 AM departure.

Although Alex will not normally eat dinner this late...
I knew we would need to fill up as late as possible to hold us over
until the next day, since the competition started early...
so we wouldn't be hungry until lunch.


Alex went to bed...
and although I had tried to sleep...
I usually stay up all night...
and so, I just rested until our 3 AM departure.

Alex slept in the car for the whole of the drive to Berkeley...
and while we waited for the public parking lot to open at 7 AM.



The parking lot was a short walk from the Berkeley campus...
and the first of two testing sites.


I signed the Davidson Academy of Nevada team in
(team name:  Quadrilateral Parallelograms)...
and Alex, and I, waited on a bench for the rest of the team to arrive.


Some of the math teams gathering at the first test building.


Alex only knew three of his team members before their meeting here.

The competition involved approximately 43 six member teams from
various High Schools around the San Francisco Bay area...
with some from farther away.




This group picture epitomizes the frequently observed nature of the highly intelligent:
highly spirited, fun loving, very energetic, and extremely quick and advanced thinking...
all of which lead to spirited discussions on a variety of topics...
and even lightening quick changes from topic to topic...
and all done with the open minds and candor of that which is typical
of highly intelligent youths.


The young man in the hat was the one who had qualified 
for last year's Mathcounts Nationals.

The three on the left are in the same Sunday math club as Alex
(Northern Nevada Math Club).

The young lady in the picture was not only a competitor...
 she was a person of exceptional maturity and energy... 
as well as someone who possesses tremendous interpersonal and organizational skills.

She was the group's coordinator...
and the social glue which had bound this group together.

The young man next to her (the tall one)...
was also very social and he helped coordinate things on site.

All were very friendly and relaxed...
and as a result...
Alex really liked spending time with them.

After the teams went in to the testing rooms...
I had nothing but time on my hands.

I walked around the campus a little bit...
and I took some photos.



While it was initially cool in the morning...
it quickly became a beautiful spring day.





I have always loved University campuses.

They are highly organized...
as well as very beautiful.

The people are friendly and open...
and the surroundings are peaceful.


The first of the many groups to emerge from the original testing building...
en route to the next building for the final phases of competition.


The Davidson team on their way to the final building...


and as they are entering it.



There were multiple auditoriums in use during the testing.


After the teams entered the new building...
I, again, had time to walk around until they had their lunch break.




This was their second of two buildings in which they competed.




The teams as they emerged for their lunch break.


The Davidson Academy team as they received their lunches from 
the young lady, and chief organizer, of the team.



The team enjoying their lunch just outside the competition site.

Although Alex would have loved to have eaten with them...
he doesn't eat certain foods...
and so, I took him to a local Subway for a Tuna sandwich.


After purchasing his sandwich...
 Alex, and I, sat in the shade on campus while he ate his lunch.



This was my view for the next 4 hours...
as the competitors reentered the building for the final phases of testing...
and had afterward, awaited the results.

It was a beautiful day outside.

There was a cool breeze gently blowing...
and there was the sound of numerous birds singing their spring songs...
and that was the last thing I remembered.

I had fallen asleep in the shade...
and had awakened in the sun.
It had tracked in the sky as I slept...
 to where I was no longer protected from the sun's rays by the tree's shade...
and so, I had gotten sunburned on my face  :)


I had waited until approximately 5:30 PM...
and then decided to check inside.



The team was killing time by playing cards...
doing puzzles, talking math...
and just having fun together.






Alex wanted to stretch his legs a bit outside before the award ceremony.

Although the team hadn't placed...
they had gathered valuable experience as to what to expect in such 
high level competitions.

As this was a competition of higher math for higher grade levels...
and very advanced students...
Alex was inspired to learn even more...
so he may one day compete well in future competitions here... 
and at the Stanford University Math Tournament...
in the years to come.


After the award ceremony...
the team wanted to eat at a not so local pizza place
(it was over a mile away...
and we speed marched there.
Ah...being young, energetic, fast and light...
I remember those days...
I just wish my legs did  :)

Alex was going to eat with them...
but they seemed to only serve one particular style of pizza a night there.

As Alex is very particular as to what he will eat
(part of his condition is being very sensitive to certain stimuli)...
we decided to say our goodbyes there and walk to a restaurant
 which served something more suitable for Alex.

We stopped in a Himalayan style Indian/Nepalese restaurant.




Alex had a platter of Salmon Tandoor...
and I had Butter Chicken...
and we had plenty of Naan.


Having had a full belly...
and a long day...
Alex had fallen asleep almost immediately once in the car
(we had taken along a pillow and a comforter for Alex to use in the car.
With the front seat in a fully reclined position...
Alex slept soundly and comfortably until I had awakened him
just one mile from home).

We got home at 12:30 AM...
 showered...and then went straight to bed.

I awakened shortly before Alex's Sunday math club practice...
and afterwards, Alex did some more math practice for the upcoming
MathCounts Nationals.

After dinner...
Alex and I are going to put in some more work on his
Science Project presentation board.

He will be competing in the Western Regional Science Fair
at the University of Nevada Reno in a few days...
and he will have to do some revisions on his board
to focus more on being concise with the mathematical portion...
 by adding some color to the board...
as well as by adding more emphasis on the original question...
his hypothesis and the experimental portions...
and especially on the ways of engineering a better simple machine
(using more advanced technology to eliminate
much of the friction).

This should prove to be an exciting competition for Alex as well.









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