University of Rochester

Team of University of Rochester Math Students Place 14th in Putnam Competition

March 25, 2010

A team of three students from the University of Rochester has won 14th place in the 2009 William Lowell Putnam Competition, a storied and prestigious collegiate mathematics competition. The team, made up of undergraduates Chris Kauffman, Kevin Lin, and Xiaoqing "Sean" Tang, were part of a field of more than 4,000 students from 546 colleges throughout North America. Tang also won 44th place overall, garnering him an honorable mention.

The results of the competition, which was held on Dec. 5, 2009, were just recently released. The top five teams were MIT, Harvard, Caltech, Stanford, and Princeton, respectively.

"This performance proves strongly that last year's ranking was no fluke and that this team is truly outstanding, being able to compete with the best," said Dan Geba, the team's advisor and an associate professor of mathematics.

The annual competition consists of a six-hour-long exam composed of 12 extremely difficult problems. Most test takers in any given year don't get a single correct and complete answer. There have only been three perfect individual scores in the 72-year history of the contest.

The University of Rochester won 10th place in the 2008 competition, which is believed to be the best showing ever for the University.