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Math Wiz Takes Honorable Mention in Contest

By Nicholas K. Mitrokostas

Kiran S. Kedlaya '96, a two-time Putnam fellow and resident of Quincy House, was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Morgan Prize Committee for his undergraduate research in math.

Kedlaya, a resident of Maryland and a math and physics concentrator, was recommended to the Morgan Prize Committee by Joe Gallian of the University of Minnesota, Duluth. In high school, Kedlaya was a three-time winner of the USA Math Olympiad and won two gold medals and a silver medal at the International Math Olympiad.

The Morgan Prize was endowed last year by Mrs. Brennie Morgan to "encourage research in mathematics by undergraduates." Kedlaya and Kannan Soundararajan, a Princeton graduate student, are the first students to be awarded this honor.

According to Mike Harris, the public information consultant for the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics, the organization which oversaw the process, the award was started in response to an incredibly small amount of undergraduate research done by comparison to graduate-level research.

The committee cited Kedlaya's "progress on a tough problem involving outplanar partitions of planar graphs that has brought acclaim from experts, who emphasize that he has made more progress than many professionals who have tackled it."

Kedlaya applied for the prize last December. Soundararajan received the first place $1,000 award.

The selection committee, consisting of members of the Mathematics Association of America, the American Mathematical Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), met and selected Soundararajan and Kedlaya from the group of applicants.

Students can receive applications directly from the Morgan Prize Committee and the SIAM World Wide Web site, or they can be nominated by a professor.

The committee said Kedllaya's "impressive portfolio of four professional level research papers that demonstrate sophistication, depth and versatility far beyond what might be expected lot a student due to graduate in June 1996" was the reason for his award of Honorable Mention.

Kedlaya, who plans to earn a Ph.D. and enter academics, also volunteers with the American Red Cross, plays chess, bridge and ultimate frisbee and sings in the Harvard Glee Club

The committee said Kedllaya's "impressive portfolio of four professional level research papers that demonstrate sophistication, depth and versatility far beyond what might be expected lot a student due to graduate in June 1996" was the reason for his award of Honorable Mention.

Kedlaya, who plans to earn a Ph.D. and enter academics, also volunteers with the American Red Cross, plays chess, bridge and ultimate frisbee and sings in the Harvard Glee Club

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