News in Brief

Carnegie Mellon places fifth in 2014 Putnam Mathematics Competition

Announcements of the results for the 2014 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition have revealed an impressive outcome for Carnegie Mellon. The Carnegie Mellon University team, consisting of junior science and humanities scholar Linus Hamilton and sophomore mathematical sciences majors Thomas Swayze and Samuel Zbarsky, won fifth place, marking the team’s fourth consecutive year to place among the top five. In addition, 55 individual Carnegie Mellon students placed among the top 507, the second most of any university.

On Dec. 6, 2014, 4,320 American and Canadian undergraduate students gathered from 557 institutions, including a strong showing of 205 students from Carnegie Mellon, to participate in the 75th William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, often simply referred to as the Putnam Competition. Administered by the Mathematical Association of America, the famously challenging examination is considered the premier mathematics contest for undergraduates.

According to the release, John Mackey, associate head of the Mathematical Sciences Department, stated, “We are tremendously proud of all the Putnam participants, including their coach [assistant professor of mathematical sciences Po-Shen] Loh, for their skill, spirit and determination. For us, this is more exciting than the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It’s our December and March Madness!”

Those on the team and who placed in the top 21 are part of Carnegie Mellon’s Knaster-McWilliams Scholars program, a scholarship-supported and honors program that features increased access to faculty and early research opportunities. It is funded through the generosity of a physics alumnus and mathematics and electrical engineering alumnus.

Each member of the university team will receive a $200 cash prize, and Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Mellon College of Science will receive $5000.

PSO flautist to join School of Music Faculty

This fall, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music will welcome a new member to its faculty, Lorna McGhee. McGhee is currently the principal flute of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and will serve as an artist lecturer at the School of Music.

McGhee was previously co-principal flute with the BBC symphony in London, and has performed as guest principal with world-renowned orchestras such as Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. As a soloist, she has performed concertos with the London Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Her principal teachers include William Bennet (Royal Academy of Music) and David Nicholson (Junior Department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama).

Formerly, she was a visiting associate flute professor at the University of Michigan, an adjunct flute instructor at the University of British Columbia, and a visiting fellow in flute at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 2010, McGhee was named an honorary “Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.”