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MIT wins 76th Putnam Competition

For the third year in a row the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team won first place in the 76th William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. The Putnam Competition, administered by the Mathematical Association of America, includes a $25,000 prize and an added $1,000 for each team member: Mark Sellke, Bobby Shen, and David Yang.

Almost 4,300 students, from more than 550 institutions, participated in this highly competitive exam on December 5, 2015. The highest score on the six-hour exam was 99 out of a possible 120 points.

The second place team is Carnegie Mellon University with team members Joshua Brakensiek, Linus Hamilton, and Thomas Swayze; followed by the Princeton University team with Rodrigo Angelo, Andrew Arslan, and Eric Schneider.

“The Putnam is among the most prestigious undergraduate mathematical competitions in the world,” said Mark Saul, MAA Director of Competitions. “Through this program, the MAA stimulates and recognizes mathematical achievement at the highest levels.”

The top six individual scores are also recognized for their high achievement, winning the title of Putnam Fellow and awarded $2,500. This year’s fellows are, in alphabetical order: Pakawut Jiradilok (Harvard), Bumsoo Kim (Princeton), Gyujin Oh (Stanford), Daniel Spivak (University of Waterloo), David H. Yang (MIT) and Yunkun Zhou (MIT).

“Many participants who take the Putnam had been inspired by their high school experience in the MAA American Mathematics Competition, then go on to become leaders in STEM fields,” said Saul.

The same is true for Danielle Wang (MIT), this year’s Elizabeth Lowell Putnam prize winner, an $1,000 award that is given to a woman whose performance is deemed particularly excellent. Wang was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2015, and the only contestant to achieve a perfect score at the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad in the same year.

Winning teams can be found listed on the MAA website, and more details about the 2015 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition will appear in the October 2016 American Mathematical Monthly.


About MAA
The Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society that focuses on making mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. The MAA publishes the latest research in mathematical education. MAA members span all professional fields, including academia, pure and applied mathematics, computer science, statistics, government.

News Date: 
Tuesday, April 12, 2016