Math Talent Search

For 49 years, our department has run the Talent search program, designed to find and encourage youngsters with mathematical abilities. Over the recent years, the program has been administered by Martin Isaacs and Donald Passman. It is supported by the Van Vleck family foundation which also provides funding for the top prize, a $24,000 scholarship to UW-Madison. The program is advertised through schools and the departmental web page. Interested high and middle school students may contact the organizers to receive a set of difficult mathematics problems to work on, and then mail their solutions to us. Typically, about 100-200 students participate in a given year. The best performers are recognized at the annual Honors day at the department.

Many of the winners of the Talent Search Van Vleck scholarship have been true superstars. Most notably, these have included Daniel Kane, who is now a postdoc in mathematics at Stanford, and the three Loh siblings: Po-Shen, Po-Ru and Po-Ling. The eldest, Po-Shen, has a Princeton PhD and is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie-Mellon. Po-Ru is now a graduate student in applied math at MIT, and the youngest, Po-Ling, is a statistics graduate student at Berkeley. But it is not necessary to be a winner to benefit from the program. Many more students win by being exposed to interesting and beautiful mathematics and by building their confidence in their abilities.

Honors Day Participants

Andrew Cronin Hamilton High School
Arjun Dhillon Fort Atkinson High School
Brendan DuBois Monroe Virtual School
Araminta Gwynne Lodi Area High School
Thomas Hameister Neenah High School
Alex Knoespel Southwest High School
Sarah Kotnik Cedarburg High School
Kijung Kwak Walden III Middle School
Willard Kwak Walden III High School, Racine
Max Luck Appleton West High School
Brian Luo Jefferson Middle School, Madison
Blake Nigh Neenah High School
Sohil Shah Madison Memorial High School
Evan Thompson Hamilton High School
David Yuan Osceola High School
Wentong Zhang Whitefish Bay High School

Scholarship Winners

Three students had perfect scores on the scholarship exam, so they were awarded scholarships jointly:

Alexander Knoespel
Brian Luo
Sohil Shah

Click for more information. on the talent search program.