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Randolph Mathletes Finish Strong in National Competition

Student mathletes
(left to right) Pujan Shrestha ’15, Hart Gillespie ’15, Zhe Zhang ’15,
Si Thu Aung ’16, Marc Ordower, Duc Dang Dinh ’16,
Nam Hoang ’15, and Tung Tran ’15

A team of Randolph College students recently scored in the top fifth of all participating colleges and universities in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a prestigious and famously difficult contest of mathematical skills and creative reasoning.
Randolph ranked 106th out of the 557 participating institutions. Individually, Nam Hoang ’15 earned special distinction by placing 266th out of the more than 4,000 competing students.

All eight Randolph students who competed scored in the top half of all participants. Five were in the top third. Two were in the top quarter.

The team consisted of Tung Tran ’15, Hart Gillespie ’15, Tu Nguyen ’15, Pujan Shrestha ’15, Zhe Zhang ’15, Nam Hoang ’15, Si Thu Aung ’16, and Duc Dang Dinh ’16.

Marc Ordower, a Randolph College mathematics professor, offers a course in Mathematical Problem Solving aimed at students who wish to participate in competitions such as the Putnam.

The Putnam is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious undergraduate mathematics competition in North America. Students from institutions in Canada and the United States participate by taking a 12-problem test. Questions on this proof-based exam are meant to test originality as well as technical competence, covering topics from linear algebra to graph theory. The questions can typically be solved with only basic knowledge of college mathematics but require extensive creative thinking.

The competition takes place in early December, with the results being announced in the spring.

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