KU Students Compete in Math Competitions

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

KU Math Prize Competition

The 37th 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 23.

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: Jonathan Downs, a sophomore in mathematics and computer science from Leavenworth. Downs also was the top first-year student.
Second place: John Byrne, a second-year student in mathematics and economics from Overland Park.
Third place: Frank Lin, a sophomore in mathematics from China.

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: John Johnston, a sophomore in mathematics and physics from Overland Park. 
Second place: Doug Newman, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Wichita. 
Third place: Zach Bruennig, a senior in computer science and minor in mathematics from Overland Park.

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

Kansas Collegiate Math Competition

KU undergraduate students took first place in the team competition at the 14th Kansas Collegiate Math Competition, which was March 30 at Pittsburg State University. 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 Thomas Gartman, a senior in mathematics and interdisciplinary computing-astronomy from Andover; John Johnston, and Nicole Johnson, a senior in mathematics and engineering physics from Toronro, Canada.  Another KU team placed fourth in the competition.  Those members were Zachary Atkins, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Leavenworth; Andre Kurait, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Andover; and Shih-Yen Pan, a senior in mathematics and sociology from Taiwan.

Terry Soo and Dionyssis Mantzavinos, assistant professors, coached the team. 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 245nd out of 568 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 Zachary Atkins, John Johnston, and Andre Kurait.

The students were presented with cash awards at the mathematics department’s honors banquet April 23.

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