Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Seventy-fifth Annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition

The seventy-fifth annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition was held on Saturday, December 6, 2014. The results are in: Ashland University had two students receive non-zero scores. They were Paul Pernici and Grace McCourt. Pernici received a score of 18 and McCourt received a score of 2. Pernici holds the record for the highest score by an Ashland University student. Cara Smith, a 2010 graduate, previously held the highest score with a score of 12.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition began in 1938 and is designed to stimulate a healthy rivalry in mathematical studies in the colleges and universities of the United States and Canada. Mr. William Lowell Putnam, a member of the Harvard class of 1882, believed in the "merits of an intellectual intercollegiate competition." Elizabeth Lowell Putnam created a fund in 1927 in honor of her late husband known as the William Lowell Putnam Intercollegiate Memorial fund. The first competition was in the field "of English and then a few years later another competition was held in mathematics between two institutions." It was not until after her death in 1935 that "the examination assumed its present form and was placed under the administration of the Mathematical Association of America" (The Mathematical Association of America, Exam Brochure).

This year a total of 4,320 students from 577 colleges and universities in Canada and the United States participated in the competition. Pernici did better than 76.1% of students taking the exam and McCourt did better than 42.4% of students taking the exam. Andrew Rowe, a 2006 graduate, still holds the record for the highest percentile rank, doing better than 76.2% of students taking the exam.

This year's top 5 teams were: 1.) MIT, 2.) Harvard, 3.) Rensselaer Polytechnic, 4.) Waterloo, and 5.) Carnegie Mellon. Thank you to all of the AU students who participated in this year's exam.

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