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Caltech Wins Big at 71st Putnam Competition

The results are in for the 71st Annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. Ranked first and taking home a $25,000 reward—plus a $1,000 individual award for each team member —was the team of Yakov Berchenko-Kogan, Jason C. Bland, and Brian Lawrence from the California Institute of Technology. Putnam Fellow awards and the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize were also awarded this year. 

Read the Caltech Official Press Release.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, held on the first Saturday in December, is for American and Canadian college students. In 2010, a total of 4,296 students from 546 colleges and universities in Canada and the United States spent six hours (in two sittings) trying to solve twelve problems.

The 2010 question committee comprised Bjorn Poonen (MIT), Izabella Laba (University of British Columbia), and George T. Gilbert (Texas Christian University).

Placing second, the team of Sergei S. Bernstein, Whan Ghang, and Jacob N. Steinhardt from MIT was awarded $20,000 and $800 for each team member. Kevin Lee, Arnav Tripathy, and Alex (Lin) Zhai of Harvard placed third with a $15,000 team award and $600 for each team member. UC–Berkeley's team of Shiyu Li, David Gee, and Evan O'Dorney, who was participating as a high school senior, placed fourth, receiving a $10,000 award and $400 individually. The University of Waterloo team of Steven Karp, Boyu Li, and Malcolm Sharpe placed fifth, earning a $5,000 award and $200 individually.

Each year the competition names Putnam Fellows, the five highest ranking individuals. Each Fellow receives an award of $2,500. For 2010, Yu Deng (MIT), Brian Lawrence (Caltech), Seok Hyeong Lee (Stanford), Colin Sandon (MIT), and Alex (Lin) Zhai (Harvard) earned this honor.

Yinghui Wang (MIT) was awarded the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize. This prize was established in 1992 to be awarded periodically to a woman whose performance in the competition has been deemed particularly meritorious. The winner receives $1,000.

The full results of this year's competition are available on the American Mathematics Competitions website. The problems and solutions were published in the February 2011 issue of Mathematics Magazine. The complete results, questions, and answers will appear in the October 2011American Mathematical Monthly.—L. McHugh  

News Date: 
Monday, May 9, 2011