Lowell High School senior Andrew Xu is headed to Washington, D.C., in December to compete in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology after he and his teammates, Kevin Chang and Kevin Tian of Texas, won a regional competition in Austin, Texas. Xu, whose research involves graph theory, is also the president of ScienceDays, which brings hands-on science experiments to elementary schools.
Can you explain your project? We dealt with graceful labeling of certain families of graphs. Graceful labeling is basically giving numbers to points and edges connecting those points in a certain way. Our result furthers what is known about a longstanding problem in math called the Graceful Tree Conjecture.
How does it feel to be a national finalist in the Siemens Competition? Right now, it’s still sinking in. It was an out-of-this-world experience, in a good way.
Why do you find math so exciting? One thing that really appeals to me about math is even if you don’t succeed the first time, or the first five times or 10 times, you can start again.