Lafayette’s three-student team finished in the top 10 percent of schools participating nationally in the 2012-13 William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition.
The College placed 37th of 578 teams. Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Stony Brook, and Carnegie Mellon were this year’s top finishers. This is now the 11th year of the last 13 that a Lafayette team has finished in the top 15 percent, including top five percent finishes in 2002 and 2008.
According to faculty adviser Derek Smith, associate professor of mathematics, the teams’ performances over the past 11 years put Lafayette among the very top liberal arts colleges in the nation.
The six-hour exam, called the “world’s toughest math test” by Time magazine, consists of 12 questions, each worth 10 points. Fewer than half of the participating students receive a positive score.
Each school has one official team of three students chosen before taking the test. Math major Liang Zhang ’13 (Shandong, China) scored 38 points and ranked 163rd of 4,277 students who took the exam. Xin Hu ’14 (Chengdu, China), a math major, scored 29 points, ranking 415th, and Michael Pinkard ’14 (Puyallup, Wash.), a double major in physics and mathematics, scored 10 points for 1360th place.
Although not on the designated team, math major John Callan ’15 (Lawrenceville, N.J.) scored 12 points, ranking 1,003rd; math major Andrew Brady ’13 (Reading, Pa.) scored 10 points for 1360th place; mathematics-economics major Rose Willey ’14 (Brookfield, Conn.) scored 8 points, ranking 1,694th; and Helen Hutchens ’15 (Washington Boro, Pa.), a mechanical engineering major, scored 2 points for 1,784th place.