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A three-man team of Lafayette students placed in the top echelon in the 62nd William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, an annual international contest renowned for its difficulty. Lafayette finished No. 54, placing in the top 12 percent of the 453 participating institutions from the United States and Canada.

Guangxi Wang, a junior electrical and computer engineering major from Shanghai, China, led the way. His performance tied him for 414th place, putting him among the top 14 percent of the 2,954 individual competitors. The team also included Tim Wetzel, a senior civil engineering major from Selinsgrove, Pa., and Alexandru Balan, a junior computer science major from Bucharest, Romania.

Ten other Lafayette students took the exam, including Edward Swartz, a junior math major from Dunmore, Pa., who tied for 494th place, scoring in the top 17 percent of individual competitors.

Derek Smith, assistant professor of mathematics and adviser to the Putnam team, says, “I should emphasize the high quality of the competition. The top 10 team performances on this year’s exam were from Harvard, M.I.T., Duke, Berkeley, Stanford, Caltech, Harvey Mudd, Swarthmore, Toronto, and Waterloo.”

Others Lafayette participants were Steve DiMauro, a senior math major from Hatboro, Pa.; Tim Fargus, a senior math major from Stafford Springs, Conn.; Nicholas Jacobi, a senior math major from Newtown, Pa.; Farhan Ahmed, a first-year student from Utter Pradesh, India; Michael Barba, a junior electrical and computer engineering major from Endicott, N.Y.; Greg Bouton, a first-year student from Phillipsburg, N.J.; Dhiraj Sharma, a first-year student from Kathmandu, Nepal; Michael Lowe, a junior math major from Easton, Pa.; and Rob McEwen, a first-year student from Morgantown, Pa.

The Putnam Competition is a 12-question, six-hour examination based on topics drawn from many different areas of mathematics. The test is conducted by the Mathematical Association of America each year on the first Saturday in December with complete results available the following spring.

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