USA Takes Third in Math Olympiad

As the Beijing Olympics comes to a close, let us take a moment to congratulate the United States Team for their third place finish in the recently completed International Mathematical Olympiad, held in Madrid. The U.S. Team included Alex Zhai, who obtained one of only three perfect scores in the entire competition.

China placed first, Russia took second. If you’re feeling ambitious, go have a look at the problems (PDF format). Congratulations to the team!


  1. #1 SR
    August 21, 2008

    Well, that sucks. Weren’t we pulling a steady #2 a while ago?

    And OMG! I was on ARML with Alex!

    *sigh* oh for the days of mathletecism…

  2. #2 John Wendt
    August 21, 2008

    So how did you do, Jason? 🙂

    As a long-time-ago physics major, I found some of it sort of familiar…

  3. #3 Alex Zhai
    August 22, 2008

    Whoa? I do not actually recall going to ARML at any point, so I am not really sure how you were on ARML with me… ? But maybe I still know you?

  4. #4 Jeremy
    August 22, 2008

    Thank Zeus I only got a Math minor; this stuff is crazy.

  5. #5 Jason Rosenhouse
    August 23, 2008

    Sadly, I reached my mathematical peak back in high school, and we’re not exactly talking about Everest here. 🙁

    Alex –

    Congratulations on the perfect score! That’s a really amazing accomplishment.

  6. #6 Paul Grace
    August 25, 2008

    I looked at the scores and the US placed First, not third. That Zhai was listed third was an artifact of his last name starting with Z. (Behind Wei and Mu, who were the other two first-place finishers.

    Congratulations all!

  7. #7 Jason Rosenhouse
    August 25, 2008

    Paul –

    Each country is represented by six participants, and the country’s score is found by adding together those six scores. That’s why the Chinese placed first and the Russians placed second.

  8. #8 Paul Grace
    August 27, 2008

    I posted too soon.

  9. #9 Burt Humburg
    August 31, 2008

    You all don’t know this but Jason and I had dinner out in Pittsburgh on one of the nights of the creationist conference. And while we were eating at that Asian Tapas joint, he was explaining to me – a person who got as far as Calc III but had to divert into bio classes to get his biochem major finished – a few graduate-level approaches to things. And I think I understood some of it, but I got the feeling he was *really* dumbing it down for me.

    I read the questions on this science olympiad here and I was thinking to myself just how dumbed down Jason’s explanation of the answer would have had to have been for me to get it.

    Congratulations, Alex. A perfect score is impressive!


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