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2009 U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad Winners Honored in Washington, D.C.

2009 U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad Winners Honored in Washington, D.C.

June 9, 2009

The 12 winners of the U.S.A Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) were honored Monday evening at the 38th annual USAMO Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Washington, D.C.

MAA President David Bressoud presided over the awards ceremony at the U.S. Department of State building, where he introduced the students and presented them with their USAMO medals. The winners are:

John Berman, John T. Hoggard High School, Wilmington, North Carolina.

Eleven of the USAMO winners pose with MAA First Vice President Betty Mayfield, President David Bressoud, Executive Director Tina Straley, and Secretary Martha Siegel at the U.S. Department of State Building.

Sergei Bernstein, Belmont High School, Belmont, Massachusetts.

Wenyu Cao, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts.

Robin Cheng, Pinetree Secondary School, Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Vlad Firoiu, Westford Academy, Westford, Massachusetts.

Eric Larson, South Eugene High School, Eugene, Oregon.

Delong Meng, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Qinxuan Pan, Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, Rockville, Maryland.

Panupong Pasupat, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Toan Phan, Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut.

David Rush, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire.

David Yang, Homeschool, Walnut, California.

Earlier in the day, the twelve winners were also inducted by Eve Torrence (Randolph-Macon College) into Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society.

Mathematician Art Benjamin (Harvey Mudd College) delivered the invited address, "Combinatorial Trigonometry." Regarded as one of the most entertaining and energetic mathematical expositors, Benjamin captured the students' attention by turning complicated identities into beautiful proofs using a method he calls D.I.E. (which stands for "description, involution, and exception").

Moving to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms for the awards dinner, the students and guests got a glimpse of U.S. history through the famous paintings of American statesmen and belongings of renowned historical figures that filled the rooms.

Sherburne Abbott, of the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, praised the USAMO winners and stressed the importance of mathematics in today’s world.  She concluded by reading a letter from President Barack Obama congratulating the 12 winners.

Art Benjamin delivers his invited address, "Combinatorial Trigonometry" (left) and Sherburne Abbott reads a letter from President Obama congratulating the 12 winners (right).

Awards and scholarships were handed out after dinner. All 12 USAMO winners received a $500 U.S. savings bond for winning the Robert P. Balles U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad Prize. Cao was awarded the prestigious Samuel L. Greitzer/Murray S. Klamkin Award for Mathematical Excellence for his first place finish, as well as a $20,000 scholarship from the Akamai Foundation.

Phan (second place) and Pan (third place) also received Akamai Scholarships in the amount of $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Wenyu Cao receives his first place scholarship prize from the Akamai Foundation (left) and Qinxuan Pan shows the crowd he's multitalented by playing piano (right).

MAA Executive Director Tina Straley thanked everyone who made the evening possible and wished the students who will travel to Germany for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) the best of luck. To conclude the evening, Pan played the piano, beautifully illustrating the strength of the link between mathematics and music.

The students will take the remainder of the IMO team selection test in the upcoming week, and the six winners will be announced shortly thereafter.—Story and Photos by R. Miller.

The MAA would like to thank those organizations who participated in the USAMO Awards Ceremony and Dinner.

Akamai Foundation
American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges
American Mathematical Society
American Statistical Association
Casualty Actuarial Society
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Math for America
Mu Alpha Theta
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society of Actuaries

News Date: 
Tuesday, June 9, 2009