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KU students excel at national, state math competitions

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas students excelled in both national and state competitions during the spring 2016 semester.

KU scored 61st out of 447 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 open to all regularly enrolled undergraduates in colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. KU’s team consisted of Daniel Knight, a senior in mathematics from Lawrence; Trevor Scheopner, a junior in mathematics and physics from Wichita, and Robert Winslow, a senior in computer science and mathematics from Olathe.

Scheopner was the highest-scoring student from KU, ranking within the top 453 out of 4,275 participants. Other top-scoring students from KU were Lawrence Chen, a senior in chemical engineering and mathematics from Lawrence, and Chris Mayo, a senior in mathematics from Clay Center.

Jeremy Martin, associate professor of mathematics, and Terry Soo, assistant professor of mathematics, conducted training sessions for the exam.

Kansas Collegiate Math Competition

KU undergraduates also took first and second place in the team competition at the 11th Kansas Collegiate Math Competition, which was April 9 at Fort Hays State University. The competition is part of the yearly meeting of the Kansas section of the Mathematical Association of America.

Students work in groups of two or three to complete 10 problems in three hours. Nine teams from six undergraduate institutions in Kansas took part.

First-place team members were Peter Bradshaw, a senior in mathematics from Shawnee; Knight, of Lawrence, and Mayo, of Clay Center.

Second-place team members were Yujie Deng, a senior in computer science and mathematics from Wuhan, China; Alec Knutsen, a senior in computer science and mathematics from Lawrence, and Scheopner, of Wichita.

Martin, associate professor, was the coach. Mathew Johnson, assistant professor of mathematics, co-organized with Jeremy Wade, assistant professor of mathematics at Pittsburg State University, the intercollegiate competition portion of the program.

KU Math Prize Competition

All KU undergraduates were eligible to participate in the Department of Math’s 34th annual Math Prize Competition, which was April 13. The written exam for each level covers six questions that must be completed in three hours.

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

First place: Xiangyu Li, a freshman undecided major from Shandong, China. Li also was the top first-year student.

Second place: Zachary Bruennig, a sophomore in computer science from Overland Park.

Third place: Spencer Dang, a junior in chemistry from Shawnee.

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

First place: Knight, of Lawrence.

Second place: Paul Goodwin, a junior in mathematics from Olathe.

Third place: Bradshaw, of Shawnee.

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

All students were honored at the math department’s annual banquet, which was April 26.