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Augustana improves in Putnam contest

April  27, 2016

Augustana's Lan Dang and Kevin Barbian.

Practice paid off for Augustana students who met weekly this year to study for a national mathematics competition for undergraduates.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition was established in 1938 by the Mathematical Association of America. On the first Saturday in December, thousands of mathematics students spend six hours (in two sittings) trying to solve 12 problems.

Augustana's Lan Dang scored in the top 33 percent (ranked 945 out of 3,092), and Kevin Barbian in the top 55 percent nationwide (ranked 1,678 of 3,092).

Dr. Andrew Sward, assistant professor of mathematics, organized the practice sessions for the Augustana Putnam team, consisting of five of mathematics students. 

"This has been Augustana's best performance in the competition in recent years," said Dr. Sward. "It is fun for the students to compete and the math department is very proud of our top scoring students."

These students will be competing again next year, and the group meets once a week for practice.

Dang is a sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam, majoring in applied mathematics and biochemistry.

Barbian is a junior from Libertyville, Ill., majoring in applied mathematics and economics.