Math student teams excel in national, state competitions

A WUSTL team took first place in the annual Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition sponsored by the Missouri section of the Mathematics Association of America, held March 31-April 1 at Southeast Missouri State University.

The winning team consisted of Andy Feldman, Michael Gardner and Ben Robinson.

They competed against 31 teams from 15 colleges and universities in Missouri.

The contest consisted of two sessions of 2.5 hours each.

Ron Freiwald, Ph.D., professor of mathematics in Arts & Sciences, and Ilya Krishtal, Ph.D., the Chauvenet Lecturer in Mathematics, were advisers.

The Department of Mathematics also announced results of the 2004 Putnam Competition, a renowned contest that pits mathematics competitors from colleges and universities throughout the country.

Students from 515 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada participated in the 2004 competition, which is held on the first Saturday of December each year.

There were a total of 411 school teams.

The WUSTL team comprised of Jon Pinyan, Po-Hsiang Lai and Joe Marincel ranked No. 40.

Mohan Kumar, Ph.D., professor of mathematics; Richard Rochberg, Ph.D., professor of mathematics; and Carl Bender, Ph.D., professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, coached the team.

Of the 3,730 individual students who took the exam, sophomore Pinyan ranked No. 38 nationally.

Other top scorers included Po-Hsiang Lai and Ben Robinson, who were in the top 10 percent of the rankings; and Justin Gilmer, Igor Konfiskhar, Nathaniel Watson and Eric Wofsey, who were in the top 20 percent.

Since 1976, University teams have placed in the top 10 in 18 of 29 Putnam competitions, including 11 top-five performances.