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Dos Pueblos High School seniors John Kim, Caroline Kim and Angela Dai took second place in the international Shing-Tung Yau High School Mathematics Awards competition in Beijing. (Barbara Keyani / Santa Barbara School District photo)

Dos Pueblos High School seniors Angela Dai, Caroline Kim and John Kim returned from last week’s international Shing-Tung Yau High School Mathematics Awards competition in Beijing, where they took second place.

It was the first year of the international project-based competition in mathematical sciences. The awards ceremony was held Friday at Tai Miao, a 600-year-old imperial temple. The three Dos Pueblos High School team members were recognized for their study on invertibility probability of binary matrices. The team was awarded a glass trophy, individual plaques and a cash prize.

The competition, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Taikang Life Insurance, is open to students of Chinese descent outside Greater China. In mid-September, three-member teams competed at the regional level and winners advanced to the October international competition in Beijing. Once in Beijing, the teams presented their research in English to professors and researchers from around the world.

The Shing-Tung Yau High School Mathematics Awards is named for professor Shing-Tung Yau, a Harvard University mathematician and professor. Yau is best known for solving the Calabi conjecture on the existence of the Kahler-Einstein metric, which now plays a central role in string theory. The impact of his work has affected many areas of modern mathematics and physics.

Yau believes that high school students should have exceptional mathematical education in order to meet future challenges.

“These young students are not necessarily going to be mathematicians in the future,” he said. “However, good training in math during high school is of great value and will contribute enormously to a nation’s technological development.”

Barbara Keyani is the Santa Barbara School District’s administrative services and communications coordinator.