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MIT Students Take First Place in the 84th Putnam Math Competition

From left to right, front row: Putnam Fellows Ankit Bisain, Papon Lapate, Jiangqi Dai, Brian Liu, and Luke Robitaille, and Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize winner Isabella Zhu. In the background are MIT students recognized for finishing in the top 26.

For the fourth time in the history of the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, and for the fourth year in a row, all five of the top spots in the contest, known as Putnam Fellows, came from a single school — MIT.

Putnam Fellows include three repeats, sophomores Papon Lapate and Luke Robitaille, and junior Brian Liu, plus junior Ankit Bisain and first-year Jiangqi Dai. Each receives an award of $2,500.

MIT’s 2023 Putnam team, made up of Bisain, Lapate, and Robitaille, also finished in first place — MIT’s eighth first-place win in the past 10 competitions. Teams are based on the three top scorers from each institution. The institution with the first-place team receives a $25,000 award, and each team member receives $1,000.

The top scoring female, first-year Isabella Zhu, received the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize, which includes a $1,000 award. She is the seventh MIT student to receive this honor since the award began in 1992.

In total, 68 out of the top 100 test-takers who took the exam on December 2, 2023, were MIT students. Beyond the top 5 scorers, MIT students took 8 of the next 11 spots (each awarded $1,000), 7 of the next 10 after that (each awarded $250), and 48 out of a total of 75 honorable mentions.

“I am incredibly proud of our students’ amazing effort and performance at the Putnam Competition,” says Associate Professor of Mathematics Yufei Zhao ’10, PhD ’15. “MIT is truly a unique place to be a math major.”

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's exam!

A full list of the winners can be found on the Putnam website.

John Urschel Receives DiPrima Prize

John Urschel

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) named John Urschel as the recipient of the 2024 Richard C. DiPrima Prize.

He was cited “for outstanding contributions to fundamental problems in applied linear algebra developed in his PhD dissertation entitled 'Graphs, Principal Minors, and Eigenvalue Problems.'”

This prize is awarded every two years by SIAM to one early career researcher who has done outstanding research in applied mathematics. He will receive the prize at the 2024 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN24) in Spokane, Wash.

Congratulations, John!

Grad Students Ishan Levy and Mehtaab Sawhney Receive Clay Research Fellowships

Ishan Levy Mehtaab Sawhney

Ishan Levy and Mehtaab Sawhney have been awarded 2024 Clay Research Fellowships, for a term of five years.

Levy is known for his contributions to homotopy theory, and Sawhney is recognized for his breakthroughs on fundamental problems across extremal combinatorics, probability theory, and theoretical computer science.

Other current Fellows with MIT Math connections include researcher Yang Li, who received it in 2020; Assistant Professor Lisa Piccirillo, and former postdocs Maggie Miller and Alexander Smith, in 2021; and CLE Moore Instructor Ziquan Zhuang, in 2022.

Congratulations, Ishan and Mehtaab!

Department Welcomes Professor Aleksandr Logunov

Aleksandr Logunov

Please welcome Aleksandr Logunov, who joined our faculty as a full professor as of January 1. Aleksandr specializes in harmonic analysis, potential theory, and geometric analysis.

He received his BS in 2012 and, under Viktor Petrovich Havin, his PhD in 2015 from St. Petersburg State University, and was a postdoc at Tel Aviv University. He was a researcher and assistant professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University, and most recently a professor at the University of Geneva.

He is the 2021 recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics — New Horizons in Mathematics, 2020 EMS Prize of the European Mathematical Society, 2018 Salem Prize, and 2017 Clay Research Award.

Congratulations, Aleksandr!

Save the Date: 2024 Simons Lecture Series features Elon Lindenstrauss Feb. 13-15 and Lenka Zdeborova April 23-25

Elon Lindenstrauss Lenka Zdeborová
Left: Elon Lindenstrauss, Right: Lenka Zdeborová

Fields Medal awardee Elon Lindenstrauss, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Einstein Institute of Mathematics, will give three lectures (pure math) February 13, 14, and 15, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Lenka Zdeborová, an associate professor of physics and of computer science and communication systems as well as head of the Statistical Physics of Computation Laboratory, will give three lectures April 23, 24, and 25.

The Department of Mathematics annually hosts this Simons Lecture Series, which features presentations by top mathematicians. Many thanks to Jim and Marilyn Simons for their financial support of these lectures.

Each day, a 4 p.m. reception in 2-290 is followed by an hour lecture from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in 2-190.

More information will soon follow.