My college operates a high school math contest each year. It involves both an individual competition and a team competition. We’re thinking of starting up a tradition for the team competition where the winners are given a trophy which resides at the winning school each year. So, if Central High School wins, they get the trophy for the year; if they win the next year, they get to keep it; but if Northside High School wins the next year they get the trophy. This is sort of like the Old Oaken Bucket which goes each year to the winner of the IU-Purdue football game — just a fun way to inject some school rivalry, tradition, and bragging rights into the contest.

So, if you were going to do something like this with your math contest, what would the trophy be? And what would you call it?

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I’m going to think about this, but for now, I’ll point you to my very favorite math trophy!

http://www.abelprisen.no/en/abelprisen/

I also always thought that the object on the cover of Godel, Escher, Bach would be awesome to have. Maybe you can design one for the initials of your contest!

Let’s see, how about this:

Take a large model of Optimus Prime, bronze it, put it on a pedestal, and call it:

The Fourier Transformer

(which is appropriate, since ownership of the trophy will oscillate between schools…)

🙂

Doesn’t this just cry out to be called, “The Klein Bottle”?

Maybe one of these bronze math sculptures would do? Perhaps the Klein Bottle?

I’m loving Chip’s suggestion but, sadly, it might be a little dated.

I’m also digging the Klein bottle opener, at the link Maria posted.

The senior faculty member in the department tells me that the department used to own one of those wall-mounted, 6-foot long slide rules before they gave it away some years ago because it was taking up too much room. Now THAT would have made a statement as a trophy.

How about a cup with no handles? It could be the genus zero cup.

A large bust of Isaac Newton, called The Newton.

I would find a creative representation (model) which “speaks”, either literally or figuratively, to the name of the contest. I assume that your high school math contest already has a name (?).

@jedward: I believe the competition is called “Math Day”

Since the name “Polya Competition” is taken, maybe you could find one of those old oil cans as a trophy … for the Euler Math Can Competition (emc^2) with half an apple pie for the runners-up (pi rads of pie) and an imaginary rationale for third.

I kill me.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to go hide.

How about a Mobius strip? You could put the winners from even years on one side and winners from odd years on the other, um, side.