Senior to Receive Certificate for Stellar Performance at Prestigious Mathematics Competition

Apr. 21, 2011

Stan Kats, a senior mathematics major who topped all other entrants in the annual CUNY Math Challenge last spring, will receive a certificate in May honoring him for recording the highest score out of all Metropolitan New York Section competitors in the latest William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the nation's most prestigious math contest.

The college's three-member Putnam Competition team scored an impressive 107 points out of a possible 120 to finish in 45th place in a field of 546 North American colleges and universities. "It has probably been 40 years or more since Brooklyn College did this well at the Putnam Competition," says Assistant Professor of Mathematics Christian Benes, the team's mentor. The college's ranking was higher than any other CUNY school and also beat out New York University.

With an individual score of 58 points, Kats ranked 115th out of the 4,296 Putnam contestants. For this impressive performance, the Metropolitan New York Section of the Mathematical Association of America will recognize him at the next MAA annual meeting, at Stony Brook on May 1.

His two Brooklyn College teammates also made respectable showings: freshman Ahram Feigenbaum came in 342nd, and fellow senior Uri Vasas ranked in the top third.

The Putnam Competition is held every year on the first Saturday in December. Teams have three hours in the morning to answer six questions and another three hours in the afternoon to answer an additional six questions. Each correct answer is worth 10 points, for a total of 120 points.

The top 10 teams were, in order of finish, Cal Tech, MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, University of Waterloo, Duke, Princeton, Stanford, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto.

"Given the prestige of these schools, it is amazing that Brooklyn College is not that far behind," says Benes. "The students on our team can be very proud of their extraordinary performances."


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