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MIT’s Putnam dynasty continues

The Institute once again swept the top spots in the premier math competition for US undergraduates.

April 25, 2023

MIT took all five top spots in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition for the third year in a row and won the prize for the top woman for the fourth time in as many years. Seventy of the top 100 in the December event were MIT students, including 21 of the top 25.

The competition, held annually by the Mathematical Association of America since 1938, is an intense six-hour exam featuring 12 proof-based problems. A total of 3,415 students from 456 institutions participated, with teams from Harvard and Stanford coming in second and third.

Six students sit on stairway and give the thumbs up
Clockwise from top right: Binwei Yan, 2022’s top-scoring woman, and 2022 Putnam Fellows Daniel Zhu, Brian Liu, Mingyang Deng, Luke Robitaille, and Papon Lapate.

Mingyang Deng ’24, Papon Lapate ’26, Brian Liu ’25, Luke Robitaille ’26, and Daniel Zhu ’23 each won $2,500 as the 2022 Putnam Fellows. Binwei Yan ’24, who finished 16th overall, received the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize for the highest-­scoring woman, along with $1,000. 

Many top scorers, including Liu, Robitaille, and Zhu, are alumni of the MIT high school outreach program Math PRIMES (Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science). 

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