December/January, 2017/2018 MOEMS® Volume 38, Number 3.1 News Flash Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools Nicholas J.Restivo, Executive Director A Not-For-Profit Public Foundation

 News Flash! This will be included in the upcoming POST CONTEST 2 Newsletter Newsletter & Honor Roll Archive Select One Nov/Dec 17 Newsletter Sept/Oct 17 Newsletter Honor Roll 16-17

Division M [December - Contest 2] Question 2B

Credit should be given to any student who had either 2000 or 1.1 as an answer to this question.

PLEASE GO BACK, MAKE THE CORRECTIONS BOTH ON THE PAPERS AND ON YOUR SCORING AT OUR SECURE WEBSITE.

Our Division M PICOs recently received a notification that they should accept 1.1 as an alternate answer to the above question, despite the fact that, 2000 was listed as "the" correct answer on the answer sheet. A big shout out goes to Jeremy Gold, an eighth grader from The Rashi School, for coming up with a solution that caught the entire Problem Writing Committee by surprise.

The problem was…

 A palindrome reads the same forwards and backwards. The number 2017102 is a 7-digit palindrome. Let A represent the least palindrome greater than 2017102. Let B represent the greatest palindrome less than 2017102. Find A - B.

Jeremy's teacher, Cindy Carter, submitted a very well-stated letter from Jeremy regarding his way of looking at the problem. He felt that the problem, as stated, did not disallow a rational-number palindrome (it did not state that the palindromes, nor the difference between them, had to be a whole number), so he decided to try what you see below.

• Set A to 2017102.2017102 (the least rational-number palindrome that is greater than 2017102);
• Set B to 2017101.1017102 (the greatest rational-number palindrome that is less than 2017102).
• Subtracting B from A, you get 1.1.

In all honesty, when the Problem Writing Committee met over 10 months ago, we never even entertained the notion of using a "rational-number palindrome," but our directions for that problem allowed Jeremy to think outside the box, and come up with a perfectly acceptable answer to this question. Congratulations to Jeremy for the creativity that we love for mathematicians to exhibit, and thanks for setting this Problem Writing Committee straight!!