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Guangxi Wang, a junior from Shanghai, China, led Lafayette to an impressive showing in the 62nd Annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition Dec. 1.

As a team, Lafayette finished No. 54, placing in the top 12 percent of the 453 participating institutions from the United States and Canada.

Wang’s performance tied him for 414th place, putting him among the top 14 percent of the 2,954 individual competitors. Along with Wang, an electrical and computer engineering major, Lafayette’s three-man team included seniors Alexandru Balan, a junior computer science major from Bucharest, Romania, and Tim Wetzel, a civil engineering major from Selinsgrove, Pa.

Ten other Lafayette students took the exam, including Edward Swartz, a junior math major from Dunmore, Pa., who tied for 494th place, putting him among the top 17 percent of competitors. The others 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.

Over half of Lafayette’s participants had positive scores, notes Derek Smith, assistant professor of mathematics and adviser to the Putnam team. “I should emphasize the quality of the competition,” he says. “The top ten team performances on this year’s exam were from Harvard, M.I.T., Duke, Berkeley, Stanford, Caltech, Harvey Mudd, Swarthmore, Toronto, and Waterloo.”

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

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