The Hamilton Mathletics Team took part in the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition on Dec. 3. The competition took the form of a six-hour written exam, which the team had trained for throughout the fall semester.
Coached by Associate Professor of Mathematics Andrew Dykstra, the team was made up of 15 students: Omar Beesley ’20, Alex Black ’19, Luke Cechura ’19, Alex Dennis ’18, Ben Drebing ’17, Chengqi Guo ’20, Sarah Hoover ’18, Elise Lepage ’18, Levi Lorenzo ’19, Benjamin Oltsik ’19, Benjamin Parfitt ’19, Ryan Tamburrino ’19, Sophia Wang ’19, Spencer Woolfson ’20 and Chenchen Zhao ’19.
Established in 1938, the competition is administered by the Mathematical Association of America. As they are every year, the 12 problems on this year’s Putnam exam were some of the most challenging undergraduate mathematics problems imaginable.
The exam is so challenging that, in a typical year, a national median individual score of zero out of 120 points is possible.
Despite these odds, Hamilton’s team has had impressive showings in recent years. Last year, the team won first place in the Snow Bowl competition, a friendly competition with Colgate, Skidmore and St. Lawrence for which each school tallies their top scores on the Putnam to determine the winner.
Results from this year’s Putnam competition won’t be known until March but Dykstra said he is confident that the team will post another strong result.