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Long Beach State University Ranked Among Best in Nation in National Math Competition

Published March 6, 2019

The three-member team ranked 46th in the nation when competing against 567 other teams in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.

A three-person team of students from Long Beach State University ranked 46th out of 568 competing teams at the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. The ranking is the second highest for the university, which previously ranked 42nd in 2007.

More than 4,600 students from the California State University, University of California, and top private universities in the U.S. and Canada participated in the competition.

The six-hour test consists of 12 questions. More than a third of those who take the test score no points.

Each of Long Beach State's competitors placed among the top 1,000 in the country, with the campus's highest scorer ranking in the top 13 percent. All team members ranked in the top 23 percent.

"I am extremely proud of our Putnam teams' outstanding performance," said Curtis Bennett, Richard D. Green Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "As a mathematician who took the Putnam four times myself as an undergraduate, I can attest to the difficulty of the test and the significance of the students' accomplishment."

This year's ranking is especially poignant because the team was chosen and coached by Kent Merryfield, a beloved professor who died during the fall semester.

"The Putnam competition is an incredibly difficult mathematical exam with the median score often being 0 points out of a possible 120. Our students did the university and Dr. Merryfield very proud," said mathematics professor Will Murray.

The competition took place Dec. 1, 2018. The results of the competition were released last week.