Mighty Mathematicians

Three Duke teams win top honors in national math competitions.

 Aaron Wise, Arnav Mehta, Wei Li and Nikifor  Bliznashki.

Three teams from Duke recently received top prizes in national math contests. The contests, sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, challenge students to propose a solution to a real-world problem using equations and reasoned argument.

Two Duke teams were among the four teams receiving the top "outstanding" designation in the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling; 224 teams participated. Each of the Duke teams developed a model for how the United Nations should allocate resources for fighting /HIV/AIDS. On one team were Arnav Mehta, Qianwei Li and Aaron Wise; Tyler Huffman, Barry Wright III and Charles Staats III were on the other.

In the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, a Duke team was among 10 "outstanding" teams out of 748 participating. The team -- Matt Fischer, Brandon Levin and Nikifor Bliznashki -- described the best way to position and move sprinklers to irrigate a farmer's field.

In a separate competition, the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a Duke team finished third behind Harvard and Princeton. The students on the team were Bliznashki, Lingren Zhang and Jason Ferguson.