Saturday, November 21, 2009

Congratulations to our PUMaC Team

Eight Albany Area Math Circle students traveled to Princeton University this weekend for the fourth annual Princeton University Math Contest (PUMaC). AAMC students shown above relaxing before the very challenging contest are, from left to right: Wyatt Smith, Schuyler Smith, Jay White, Andrew Ardito (captain), Gurtej Kanwar, Zubin Mukerjee, Dave Bieber, and Matthew Babbitt. Also, in the background, you can see some of Albany Area Math Circle's outstanding parent volunteers. Left to right, they are Dr. Susan Bieber, Professor Rita Biswas, and Mrs. Eileen Ardito. The photo was taken by AAMC advisor Mr. Bill Babbitt. Their energetic efforts and enthusiastic support have made major contributions to our math circle.

AAMC students once again brought home a number of honors, including EIGHTH place overall team and FOURTH Place in the Power Round! The field at PUMaC has grown bigger and more competitive each year. It now attracts exceptionally strong teams from all over the country and the world. This year's field of 70 teams included two all-star teams from Beijing, as well as longtime traditional powerhouse teams from New York City, Phillips Exeter, Thomas Jefferson (VA), and many other places around the country and the world. Congratulations also to all the competitors, with special kudos to Lehigh Valley Fire (the reigning two-time national championship team from ARML), which took first place overall team honors. In fact, it's amazing to note that every national championship ARML team from 2002 through 2009 participated in PUMaC this year! What an honor for Albany Area Math Circle to do so well with such extraordinary competitors.

AAMC students brought home individual honors as well: Matthew Babbitt and Schuyler Smith tied for 9th place in the Number Theory competition. Andrew Ardito took 5th place in Number Theory. In the Combinatorics competition, Dave Bieber took 9th place and Andrew Ardito took the medal for second place, only one problem away from first place. As team captain, Andrew led the outstanding Power Round collaboration, with major contributions to the Power Round also coming from two other key veterans: Matt Babbitt and Dave Bieber.

The contest is entirely run by Princeton students. Princeton undergrads manage promotion, registration, finances, get sponsorship, create the problems, score and record results, assist distant teams with travel arrangements, maintain the website, arrange for catering lunch, run awesome minievents, and much more. The Princeton undergraduate math students who ran the contest deserve great praise for all their attention to organizational details, which made this year's contest the smoothest run ever.

Albany Area Math Circle alumna Alison Miller, who is now a first year grad student at Princeton, volunteered as a grader at the contest. (She recused herself from scoring Albany Area Math Circle papers.)

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