HBD Watch: Putnam Competition Results
April 13, 2016, 11:07 AM
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Results of the 2015 Putnam Mathematical Competition for math undergraduates in the U.S.A. and Canada came out the other day.

The six top individual scorers, who thereby win Putnam Fellowships—and who are, of course, way out in the far-right tail of the math-talent bell curve—are listed as:

  1. Pakawut Jiradilok, Harvard University
  2. Bumsoo Kim, Princeton University
  3. Gyujin Oh, Stanford University
  4. Daniel Spivak, University of Waterloo
  5. David H. Yang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  6. Yunkun Zhou, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
By name, numbers 2 and 3 are Korean, numbers 5 and 6 Chinese.  Number 4 is Ashkenazi-Jewish.

Number 1 is a Thai name.  He looks pale for a Thai, though, and I'm guessing he's ethnic Chinese.  There's a big market-dominant Chinese minority in Thailand, mostly of the Chaozhou (a/k/a Teochew, Shantou, Minnan) group.  On the Kaplan→Copland principle, they take Thai names.

There is endless argument about how well assimilated into Thai society the Thai-Chinese are.  My own impression was that it's not quite as bad as "William" says here, but not a whole lot better.  That, however, is based on a mere three months teaching English in Thailand 44 years ago.