University of Pittsburgh
April 27, 2004

Pitt Student Ranks 12th of 3600 in Putnam Mathematics Competition

Another student receives Honorable Mention
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh mathematics undergraduate student Sevak Mkrtchyan ranked 12th out of more than 3,600 students from 479 colleges and universities in the 2003 William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, the most prestigious undergraduate math competition in North America. Dorian Croitoru, also a Pitt mathematics undergraduate, received an Honorable Mention.

The six-hour competition, open to students who have not yet received an undergraduate degree, takes place annually on the first Saturday in December. Of a total possible 120 points, the median score each year for all contestants is approximately one.

"Sevak Mkrtchyan and Dorian Croitoru continued the extraordinary feat of solving the clever and challenging Putnam problem sets. We are proud of their accomplishments," said Gregory Constantine, professor in Pitt's Department of Mathematics, who coaches the team with Pitt Professor of Mathematics George Sparling.

Mkrtchyan and Croitoru have participated in the competition for the last three years. Mkrtchyan, originally from Yerevan, Armenia, attended Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology before coming to Pitt, in 2001, with the help of a University Honors College Chancellor's Scholarship. Mkrtchyan has been accepted into the graduate program in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Croitoru, a native of Moldova, placed 37th in the 2001 competition as a freshman and received an Honorable Mention in the 2002 competition. He is a Chancellor's Scholar and plans to pursue his graduate education at Pitt.

"In academics as in athletics, a combination of discipline and supreme talent often sets the pace," said Alec Stewart, dean of Pitt's Honors College. "Dorian and Sevak do just that, inspiring all of us with what is possible in undergraduate mathematics."

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