The results are in for the 73rd annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, and Harvard has done it—won, that is—again. Ranked first for the 29th time in the Putnam's seven-decade history, the Crimson will take home a $25,000 reward, plus a $1,000 individual award for each of its team members (Eric K. Larson, Evan M. O'Dorney, and Allen Yuan).
A total of 4,277 students from 578 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada participated in the Putnam on December 1, 2012. Over the course of two three-hour sessions, competitors tackled two sets of six questions prepared by a committee comprising George T. Gilbert (Texas Christian University), Djordje Milićević (Bryn Mawr College), and Hugh Montgomery (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology team of Benjamin P. Gunby, Brian C. Hamrick, and Jonathan Schneider took second place honors, while the University of California, Los Angeles fielded Xiangyi Huang, Tudor Padurariu, and Dillon Zhi for a third place finish.
Thao T. Do, Dat Pham Nguyen, and Kevin R. Sackel took fourth place for Stony Brook University and the team from Carnegie Mellon University—Michael Druggan, Albert Gu, and Linus V. Hamilton—rounded out the top five in the team rankings.
The 2012 Putnam Fellows—the five highest ranking individuals, each of whom receives a $2,500 prize—are (listed alphabetically) Benjamin P. Gunby (MIT), Eric K. Larson (Harvard), Mitchell M. Lee (MIT), Zipei Nie (MIT), and Evan M. O'Dorney (Harvard).
Readers struggling to square the individual and team results should recall that team scores are calculated by summing the ranks of three team members designated in advance of the contest.
As The Tech out of MIT noted in its coverage of the 2012 competition: "Though MIT fielded three of the five Putnam Fellows and 12 of the top 25 contestants, the MIT team fell to Harvard's because the school awards only depend on the three members selected for the team. Neither of the two teams ended up being the optimal choice for its school."
More complete details of the 2012 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition will appear in the October 2013 American Mathematical Monthly and readers interested in the history of the Putnam Competition may consult the article (pdf) by Joe Gallian.