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KU Students Compete in Math Competitions

Friday, August 17, 2018

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas students have tested their mathematical prowess at local, state and national events.

KU Math Prize Competition

The 36th annual event, sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, took place in April. Open to all KU undergraduates, the written exam for each level covered six questions to be completed in three hours. Cash awards were presented at the department’s honors banquet April 24.

The junior-level was open to all undergraduates of non-senior standing and assumes a knowledge of first year calculus. The winners of the junior-level:

First place: Luyan (Frank) Lin, a freshman in mathematics from China. Lin also was the top first-year student.

Second place: Vo Thien Tri Pham, a freshman in computer science from Viet Nam. 

Third place: John Johnston, a freshman in mathematics and physics from Overland Park.

The senior-level is open to all undergraduates and covers a range of standard topics of undergraduate math. The winner of the senior-level:

First place: Spencer Dang, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Shawnee. 

Second place: Anne Schneller, a junior in mathematics and violin from Lenexa. 

Third place: Gabriella Sudbeck, a junior in mathematics from Seneca.

Hailong Dao and Yasuyuki Kachi, associate professors of mathematics, were in charge of the competition.

Kansas Collegiate Math Competition

KU undergraduate students took second place in the team competition at the 13th Kansas Collegiate Math Competition, which was April 21 at Johnson County Community College. The competition is part of the yearly meeting of the Kansas section of the Mathematical Association of America.

The competition is team-based, with students working together in groups of two or three to complete 10 problems in three hours. Teams from undergraduate institutions in Kansas took part. Cash awards were given to the top teams. University of Kansas had the first-place team.

First-place team members were Spencer Dang, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Shawnee; John Johnston, a freshman in mathematics and physics from Overland Park; and Trevor Scheopner, a senior in mathematics and physics from Wichita.

Yunfeng Jiang, associate professor, was the KU coach. Mathew Johnson, associate professor of mathematics, co-organized with Scott Thuong, assistant professor of mathematics at Pittsburg State University, the intercollegiate competition portion of the program.

William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition

The University of Kansas team placed 172nd out of 575 teams in the Mathematical Association of America’s William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.  Called one of the toughest math competitions in the world, the Putnam exam is a mathematics competition open to all regularly enrolled undergraduates in colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. KU’s team consisted of Lawrence Chen, a senior in mathematics and chemical engineering from Lawrence; Spencer Dang, senior in mathematics and computer science from Shawnee; and Trevor Scheopner, senior in mathematics and physics from Wichita. John Johnston, a freshman in mathematics and physics from Overland Park, and Alan Li, a junior in mathematics from Chicago, were also recognized by the department as other top-scoring students.

The students were presented with cash awards at the mathematics department’s honors banquet April 24.

Jeremy Martin, professor of mathematics, and Zhipeng Liu and Dionyssios Mantzavinos, assistant professors of mathematics, conducted training sessions for the Putnam exam.



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