SOCORRO, N.M., March 23, 2000 -- Recently posted results reveal that a team of New Mexico Tech students bested more than 300 other three-member teams during the 60th Annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, which was held this past December.

A designated team comprised of New Mexico Tech undergraduates Alan Aspinwall, Kirk Blazek, and Michael Eydenberg placed 28th overall among the 346 teams which competed in the six-hour-long problem-solving contest.

A total of 2,900 students from 431 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada participated in the latest competition.

As an indication of the extreme difficulty entailed in solving the mathematical problems posed during the contest, 1,746 of the participants received scores of zero, while the top score posted was a 74 out of a possible 120.

Blazek, Eydenberg, and New Mexico Tech team alternate Kyle Campbell tallied enough points during the Putnam Mathematical Competition to be ranked among the top 500 individual scorers.

Other Tech students participating in the competition as individual contestants included team alternates James Caruthers and James Fox.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition was established in 1938 as a means to stimulate a healthy rivalry in mathematical studies among college and university students.

The competitive examination is designed to test originality and technical competence and is open only to regularly enrolled undergraduates in the United States and Canada who have not yet received a baccalaureate degree.

Students competing in the annual event typically sit in on two three-hour-long sessions in which six mathematical problems are posed, such as the following sample problem: A right circular cone has a base of radius 1 and height 3. A cube is inscribed in the cone so that one face of the cube is contained in the base of the cone. What is the side-length of the cube?

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is administered each year by the Mathematical Association of America.

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