Stuyvesant Math Team, Fall 1946

Standing, left to right
  • Gerhard Rayna (so we think)
  • Ariel Zemach
  • Donald Newman
  • Anatole Beck
  • Unknown
  • Robert Feldmann
  • Richard Turyn
  • Leonard Taylor

Photograph courtesy of Len Taylor, from Indicator, January 1947

From the Indicator:

When the average Stuyvesantian meets a member of the math team, he rarely notices anything unusual. He sees only the calm exterior. Beneath this exterior is a seething interior tingling with covariant tensors and difference operators, chock-full of contour integrals and Laplace transformers (sic). This interior will quickly rise to the surface if the math team member should meet one of his comrades at a suitable location, say a blackboard. The two will immediately produce chalk from their pockets, courtesy of the Board of Education, and construct weird drawings accompanied by strange gibberish which, though not easily understood by an onlooker, will at least be highly amusing. (Yet it has been said, on occasion, that they know what they are talking about.)

The math team proper consists of five members who engage in five contests a term with the other schools of the city. These contests consist of six problems, each of which all the members try to solve. Prizes are awarded to the schools with the three highest scores and also to the individuals that solve the most problems.

To prepare for these contests, the captain of the team holds practice for the members several days a week, under the guidance of Mr. Greenberg. It would be more correct to say that the captain attempts to hold practice. There is one quality unusually common to all math team members past or present. They will not keep quiet if they have anything interesting to say to their neighbor. Their enthusiasm never lags and they often practice far into the afternoon session.

Despite their somewhat questionable methods of training, the math team has made a top-notch record in recent years. Last term Ariel Zemach, the captain of the math team, made the highest score in the city, missing only one problem (because he read it wrong), and the team as a whole came in second, despite the fact that one of their mainstays, Gerhard Rayna, had scarlet fever for four of the five contests. This term, there being no act of God to interfere, Zemach, Newman, Rayna and their cohorts are out to gain the coveted first place among the schools of New York City.

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