Students can submit their videos to the Elevating Mathematics Competition

CATEGORIES: Announcements

The mathematical sciences are part of everyday life. Modern communication, transportation, science, engineering, technology, medicine, manufacturing, security, finance, and many other disciplines and domains depend on the mathematical sciences, even if we don’t always realize it. It is important for mathematical researchers to convey the importance of their work to diverse audiences. This often comes down to being able to quickly and simply describe what you are doing and why.

With that in mind, the National Academies’ Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics (BMSA) invites early career professionals and students who use mathematics in their work to submit short video “elevator speeches” describing how their work in mathematics is important and relevant to our everyday lives (see BMSA’s Fueling Innovation and Discovery for examples of how advances in the mathematical sciences are changing our understanding of the world, creating new technologies, and transforming industries). This can be an unedited selfie video, an animation, or any other format. We just want to learn about why your work is important in 1-2 minutes.

Elevating Math
The winning video will be announced and played during the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2020 in Denver, CO. The winning participant will receive the $1000 Oden-Beder Prize* and be featured on our website. You do not need to attend the conference to participate.

The deadline for video submissions is January 17, 2020 at 11:59pm EST. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Michelle Schwalbe at The winner will be announced no later than January 19, 2020. See below for FAQ and competition rules.


Want to learn more about our work? Sign up for our mailing list or register for our Math Frontiers monthly webinar series!

* The Oden-Beder Prize is made possible through generous contributions from the University of Texas at Austin Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences in honor of Prof. Tinsley Oden and from Ms. Tanya Beder in support of the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics.


The first ElevatingMath video competition concluded in February 2019. The winning submission and several honorable mentions are listed below along with links to their videos.

Winner: Helen Catanese, Washington State University, Advancing Vaccine Development with Network Science

Honorable Mentions:

Catherine Berrouet, Florida Atlantic University: Math & Biometrics
Margalit Goldschmidt, Penn State Applied Research Laboratory: Generating Power Worldwide
Stefanie Günther, TU Kaiserslautern (in collaboration with Tim Abring, Maarten Blommaert, Pietro Benedusi, Federico Danieli, and Iryna Kulchytska-Ruchka): PinT makes the world a better place
Vishwas Rao, Argonne National Laboratory: Numerical Weather Prediction
​Mary Vaughan, Iowa State University: Viscoelasticity and Fractional Derivatives


Who can submit a video?

Early career professionals (less than 5 years from graduation), graduate students, and undergraduate students are encouraged to submit a 1-2 minute video about their work in the field of mathematics. These videos must focus on explaining to a general audience why the work has important practical applications and how those applications will make a difference. The video should be inspired by the participant’s personal work on the subject, but can include additional details and context as needed.

You do not need to specifically work in the field of mathematics to participate, provided your video focuses on the mathematical aspects of your work.

Employees of the National Academies, members of BMSA, and immediate families or those living in the same household as a National Academies employee or BMSA member are not eligible to enter this competition.

How will videos be judged?

National Academies’ staff and members of the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics will judge the videos based on the following criteria:

Accessibility and Public Appeal: Participants should make every effort to make their explanations and/or graphics understandable to a general, non-specialist audience. We recommend trying to limit jargon and equations in favor of plain language.
Clarity and Effectiveness: Videos should stand alone and clearly convey how math is being used to make a difference.
Decisions of the judges are final.

What are the contest rules?

Videos must be uploaded to YouTube, using #ElevatingMath in the title and description. You must also link to our website in the description. Videos should be either public or unlisted (not private), and you must select embed options on YouTube so that external sites can embed your submission via YouTube’s embeddable player. If you don’t have access to YouTube, please contact us for help in uploading your video.
Once the video is uploaded, fill out the submission form and be sure to include the link to your posted video. Once the form is submitted, we will consider your entry final and no other changes are allowed.
Videos can be the work of an individual or a group, but one person will need to be the lead contact. If a team submission wins a cash prize, the lead contact will receive it and is responsible for distribution.
A participant cannot be the lead on more than one video submission. However, working on more than one video is acceptable, provided each one has a different lead.
Videos that aren’t submitted by the deadline, or are posted and then taken down prior to the deadline, are automatically disqualified.
What are the video guidelines?

Videos must be 1-2 minutes long, including credits.
International participation is encouraged, but please note that all videos must be in English or include English subtitles.
If possible, submit videos with at least 1080p resolution.
If you are using outside source material (figures, video, images, music, etc.) or filming others as part of your video, please read our permission guidelines at the bottom of the page for how to handle this correctly.

A submission may not contain offensive, libelous, sexually explicit, disparaging or other inappropriate content and may not defame or otherwise violate the rights, copyrights, trademarks, or rights of publicity, privacy, or reputation of any third party. A submission may not contain any material to promote sale of a product or service. Any submission violating these rules will be immediately disqualified.
Guidelines for Permissions

If the material you want to use belongs to someone else (this can include music, images, video clips, etc.), you must have permission from the owner of the material to use it in your video. This means that you either have the express permission of the owner, or that the owner has made the material available under a creative commons license and your use is consistent with the terms of that license.

Each entrant is solely responsible for the information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, tags, and other materials included in the submission, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted. A submission must be original and the entrant must (1) hold all necessary rights to all the materials, images, videos, graphics and information in the submission or (2) have permission from the holder of such rights, or (3) the materials, images, videos, graphics and information in the submission must be in the public domain.

If your friends (or any other people) are going to appear in your video, you must get their permission in writing. If a person who will appear in your video is under the age of 18, you must get written permission from that person’s parent.

Additional Requirements and Disclaimers