Course Description and Grading BreakdownThe William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition is the most prestigious annual contest for college students. While the problems only employ machinery from the standard undergraduate curriculum, the ability to solve them requires a great deal of ingenuity. This can be developed through systematic and specific training, and it is this class' aim to assist the interested students in the preparation for the Putnam exam. Beyond the competition itself, problem solving is an essential skill in every discipline, so at the same time we will use the contest as an excuse to develop this ability through challenging (but fun) problems. These problems will generally come from mathematical competitions, but the syllabus will be constructed around carefully-selected topics which simultaneously develop problem solving techniques and inspire discussions about more advanced mathematics. Our aim is to use the competition problems to provide a tour through many interesting topics, and to expose a bridge to higher mathematics. Grading will be based on attendance (class and one hour weekly Putnam simulations) and class participation. Caltech students who are not officially enrolled are welcome to attend. Course Meeting Time and LocationFirst meeting on Thursday, October 4th. 7:00-8:55pm 187 Linde Tuesday starting with October 9th. 7:00 - 8:55 pm 387 Linde Course Instructor Contact Information302 Linde 164 Linde Weekly Putnam Simulations (Baby Putnams)Mondays 7:00-8pm starting with 10/8. Location 387 Linde /Might involve snacks and refreshments! Contest and Course ScheduleThe Seventy Ninth Putnam Examination will be held on The rough schedule for the quarter below.
Course PoliciesHowever, you are required to attend at least 8 of the 9 two-hour classes and at least 7 of the 8 Baby Putnams in order to qualify for a grade of at least A-. >= 6 classes, >= 5 Baby Putnams in order to qualify for at least B-. >= 4 classes, >= 3 Baby Putnams in order to qualify for at least C-. AssignmentsThe course this year will have no official homework. There will be optional problem sheets for which you can submit solutions (and which I'll happily read and give comments for). ResourcesI will send frequent e-mails with various reading recommendations based on the topics we will be discussing. In addition to these, you are also encouraged to consult: Putnam archive by Kiran Kedlaya. This page contains all the problems and solutions from the recent Putnam exams. Putnam and Beyond by Titu Andreescu and Razvan Gelca. This book is available electronically via the Caltech library. |