On October 18, 2010, President Obama hosted the White House Science Fair to celebrate the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics competitions. Honored alongside the nation's best and the brightest students was Ben Gunby (pictured), gold medalist at the 2010 International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Kazakhstan.
"My overall impression was that I was very impressed, both with the other people at the event and with the administration," said Gunby. "I was impressed with the other people because of their willingness to tackle research problems and have the ingenuity to think about them in a different way, while I was impressed with the administration because of its inspiring commitment to mathematics and science–Obama set an impressive goal of moving the United States to the top in math and science education, which is not only laudable but also extremely important, in my opinion."
Gunby is currently a junior at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. In addition to winning a gold medal at his first IMO, Gunby also helped the USA team place third overall, one of the team's better showings in recent years.
He was an individual winner at the national American Regional Math League Competitions, a distinction shared by previous IMO winners eight times in the last 14 years.
In 2009 he attended the Math Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), the Akamai-funded training program for promising young students.
The White House Science Fair kicks off a week that culminates with the USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo on the National Mall and in 50 satellite locations, poised to engage more than a million people nationwide. MAA will be hosting a booth during the Expo. Make sure to stop by for Euler square puzzles, origami, and a field guide to Math on the National Mall.
The MAA is also hosting an event to honor Martin Gardner on Thursday, October 21, 2010.
Photos courtesy of Margaret Pearson.