The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 2004

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition will take place on Saturday, December 4, 2004. The Putnam will take place in the Vidalakis room at the Schwab Residental Center, on Serra Street right by the corner with Campus Drive East. Here is a map. The problems and solutions are below.

It is a challenging opportunity for you to test your mathematical mettle. In the 2003 competition, 3615 individuals participated, representing 479 colleges and universities across Canada and the U.S. The Stanford team placed eleventh, and many individuals did very well. (I have a text file of results that I can forward to anyone interested.) The measure I look to is the number of competitors on the list of top performers sent out with the results; we had 31, making us one of the top three.

The competition emphasizes ingenuity rather than knowledge, so freshmen are not at much of a disadvantage compared to seniors. Interest in or experience with problem solving is a plus. Not just math majors have done well; many recent winners have come from nearby disciplines, including physics, computer science, and engineering.

Completely solving even one of the twelve problems is a significant achievement, and in almost all years would place you well above the median. (Keep in mind that the particpants are self-selected from among the best in the continent.)


Want more? Additional suggestions for others? Please let me know.

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