Students compete in the “world’s toughest math test”

Thirteen Lake Forest students participated in what is considered by many to be the most prestigious and toughest math competition in the world.

In both individual and team competitions, Foresters had a very strong showing in the 73rd  William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition.  Dubbed the “world’s toughest math test” by TIME magazine, the Putnam Competition consists of two three-hour sessions where participants attempt to solve 12 problems. 

“To speak to the challenging nature of this annual competition, of the more than 4,000 students from over 500 colleges and universities within the United States and Canada participating, over half get zero points out of the 120 maximum points possible,” said David Yuen, professor of mathematics and computer science at Lake Forest. “These 4,000 students are typically among the most mathematically talented college students in North America.”

This year, the Lake Forest College contingent consisted of 13 students, listed below.  Among their many accomplishments, Mehmet Ugurbil ’13 earned a score that ranked him in the top 14 percent, Turner Pepper ’15 and William Forcier ’14 placed in the top 32 percent, and William Vaughan ’14 placed in the top 42 percent.

In addition to an individual-level competition, each participating school also designates a team consisting of three pre-chosen contestants.  The Lake Forest College team placed 94th among the 578 colleges and universities represented, which placed the College in the top 17 percent.  “This is a truly outstanding showing and represents the College’s third highest-ranking placement over the last 18 years of participation,” said Professor Yuen.   Yuen, a Putnam participant himself who finished in the top ten twice (9th place and 6th place) while an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, has coached Lake Forest students for the competition for the last 18 years.

 

Daniel Acevski ’15

Robert Adams ’15

Joao Cassamano’15

William Forcier ’14

Yixin Huang ’16

Yixi Jia ’15

Taylor Jones ’15

Jacob Juillerat ’16

Katelyn Lutterbach ’15

Ian Nodurft ’15

Turner Pepper ’15

Mehmet Ugurbil  ’13