News and Events
Phillips Exeter Students Make Math History at National Competition
May 26, 2011
Exeter, NH (May 26, 2011)—For the first time in its mathematical competing history, Phillips Exeter Academy students have earned five of the top 12 highest national-ranking scores at this year's U.S. Mathematics Olympiad (USAMO), held April 27-28. The six Exonians who placed in the USAMO were among only 273 high school participants, who initially were among more than 220,000 worldwide contestants who competed in a series of challenging contests which culminated with the USAMO exam.
The top five champion Exonians are: Ravi Jagadeesan '14, from Naperville, IL; Yong Wook "Spencer" Kwon '12, from Seoul, Korea; Ray Y. Li '13, from Cranberry Township, PA; David H. Yang '13 (one of two winners with a perfect score), from Exeter, NH; Shijie "Joy" Zheng '11, from Bellevue, WA; and Dai Yang '12, from Irvine, CA (who received an Honorable Mention). The competition's top three-place winners will receive cash prizes totaling $45,000. The two first-place winners (who had tied with perfect scores) will receive $12,000 each; and the three second-place winners will each receive $7,000. The top 12 USAMO winners will be honored on June 6, at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
PEA math instructor, Math Team adviser and Math Olympiad Coach Zuming Feng was very pleased with this year's wins. "This year's results are definitely the most [USAMO] winners and honorable mentions that Exeter has had in a single year. More typical results from previous years for PEA were one or sometimes two winners and/or honorable mentions in a year. This is wonderful, great news. I'm very happy for the students," Feng says.
Steve Dunbar, director of the American Mathematics Competitions, located in Lincoln, NE, agreed. "For at least the last 20 years, I don't ever recall having this number of students from any one school to have this number of participants to win," he says. "Usually each year it's two or three winners per school. This is a really big win for Phillips Exeter."
All six of this year's winners will compete on the Exeter team at this year's American Regions Mathematics League, held June 3-4, in four designated locations across the country. All six Exonians will be eligible to participate in the AMC's Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), a three-week, invitation-only training camp that challenges the top scorers to take the rigorous Team Selection Test (TST) to try and qualify for a seat on the U.S. team. This national team will compete in this year's International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 16-24, 2011. The combined TST and USAMO scores will determine which six students will compete in the IMO.
The USAMO is a six-question, two-day, nine-hour essay/proof examination with problems requiring pre-calculus methods to be solved. This year, approximately 273 of the top-scoring American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) participants were invited to take the USAMO. Participants who qualified for the USAMO earlier this year competed in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) against 10,000 students, who were among the highest 1- to 5-percent scorers who took the American Mathematics Contest.
For other events, you may visit the Academy's community calendar, contact the Phillips Exeter Academy public events line at 603-777-4309, or visit the Academy website at Phillips Exeter Academy. For directions to Phillips Exeter Academy, call 603-777-4330.