William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
The competitive exam was given Saturday, December 6, 2008. Seven UConn students participated and three of three of them — Craig Blouin, Tyler Engel, and Wei Yu — had nontrivial scores for which they will be rewarded at our Awards Day ceremony on April 16. Their scores placed them in the top 28 to 42 percent of all participants.
Nationally, there were 3627 participants from 545 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The first number is down a bit from last year (3753), the second is up (516). 1712 (about 47.2 percent) of the participants had a score of 0. Another 173 (about 4.8 percent) scored 1 point, and 164 (about 4.5 percent) scored 2; thus the median score was 1 (out of 120).
The first four team places remain as they were last year: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford. Caltech moved from the honorable mention list to fifth place, bumping Duke down to the honorable mention list, where they were joined by Michigan, Rochester, Toronto (repeating) and Waterloo (repeating). An interesting note: Rochester achieved an honorable mention without a single student making it into the top 100. Once again, MIT dominated the individual statistics:
Putnam Fellows (top five):
MIT 2, Caltech 1, Harvard 1, Stanford 1.
MIT 3, Princeton 3, Harvard 2 and 1 each from Florida Atlantic, the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington.
Princeton 2, MIT 2 and 1 each from Caltech, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Toronto.
Honorable Mention (next fifty-four):
MIT 16, Stanford 9, Princeton 7, Harvard 7, Caltech 4, Duke 2 and 1 each from Brigham Young, British Columbia, Brown, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan, MIT, the University of New Mexico, Purdue and Toronto.
One Putnam Fellow — Stanford's — is a freshman. One from MIT is a junior, and the other three Putnam Fellows are sophomores. Two Putnam Fellows — Caltech's Brian Lawrence and Harvard's Arnav Tripathy — repeated from last year, so each of them is now two for two; another, MIT's Yufei Zhao, was a Putnam Fellow two years ago, but dropped down to the second group (positions 7-16). The student from Florida Atlantic in the second group (positions 6-16) graduated in December.
The Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize, awarded to the top female contestant, went to Viktoriya Krakovna of the University of Toronto, who placed in the honorable mention category.
Last year's dominance by freshmen has faded, but two of last year's freshman Putnam Fellows are now sophomore Putnam Fellows, so the youth movement continues, slightly modified.