Alexander Rand

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., March 23, 2004 – Alexander Rand, a senior majoring in mathematics and computer science at New Mexico Tech, recently was ranked among the top 200 individual scorers in the 64th annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.

During the continent-wide competition which was held late last year, Rand was on a designated team of New Mexico Tech undergraduates that placed 99th overall among all the three-person teams competing in the six-hour-long problem-solving contest. His teammates were Carsten Steinbach and Jeremiah Gage.

A total of 3,615 students from 479 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada participated in the latest competition.

One of Rand’s alternate teammates, fellow Tech student Samuel Collopy, also tallied enough points competing as an individual during the Putnam Mathematical Competition to be ranked among the top 500 individual scorers.

Other New Mexico Tech students who also competed as individuals were Jarrod Lombardo, Justin Dressel, and David Creswick. Their faculty advisor was Ivan Avramidi.

The William Lowell Putnam Competition was established in 1938 as a means to stimulate a healthy rivalry in mathematical studies among college and university students.

The competitive examination is designed to test originality and technical competence and is open only to regularly enrolled undergraduates in the United States and Canada who have not yet received a baccalaureate degree.

Students competing in the annual event typically sit in on two three-hour-long sessions in which six mathematical problems are posed, such as the following problem: “A right circular cone has a base radius 1 and height 3. A cube is inscribed in the cone so that one face of the cube is contained in the base of the cone. What is the side-length of the cube?”

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is administered each year on participating college and university campuses under the auspices of the Mathematical Association of America.

During the last three Putnam Mathematics Competitions held on the New Mexico Tech campus, Rand has each time posted the highest scores among the university’s undergraduate math competitors.