Putnam Competition Fall 2006
Introduction and General Information
The official Putnam webpage
Putnam Winners and Prizes
Department of Mathematics
ANNOUNCEMENT TO UNDERGRADUATES
(June 2nd, 2006)
This year the William Lowell Putnam Competition will take place
Saturday, December 2, 2006, in MS 6221. The Putnam Competition is a USA and
Canada wide mathematics competition open to regularly enrolled
undergraduates. No student can compete more than four times.
Each student works individually, but each participating college
designates three students whose combined results count for the
Any number of UCLA students may participate. In 2005 we had 9
participants, but we expect to have more participants in 2006.
In recent years we have had up to 20 participants.
The registration form has to be sent in by the end of the second
week of UCLA's fall quarter. So we would like to get people to
sign up now in the spring, or by the beginning of the fall quarter.
It is not necessary to sign up in person. Just send an email
giving your name and student ID number to:
Geoffrey Mess (firstname.lastname@example.org), Olga Radko (email@example.com), or
Luminita Vese (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Starting this year 2006, the Department of Mathematics is
awarding annually the Basil Gordon Prize for the best Putnam performance
by a UCLA student. The prize is $1000. It is due to the generosity of Basil Gordon that
the department is able to award the Gordon Prize. I am sure we all feel
grateful for Basil Gordon's generous encouragement of energetic
involvement of undergraduates in mathematics. The 2006 Gordon Prize went to Samantha Nieveen.
In the fall we will be holding practice sessions. If there is enough
interest we may propose practice problems by email over the summer or on this website.
The Putnam problems are very interesting and challenging. The format of
the competition is always the same: there are 6 problems to be attempted
in the morning session of three hours. There is a break for lunch, and
the department takes all competitors out for pizza. Then there are
6 problems to be attempted in the afternoon session of three hours.
Usually some of the problems do not require any specific knowledge
that most freshman don't already have, and the problems are always chosen
so that it doesn't matter if you have taken specialized upper division
courses (for example Differential Geometry, or Complex Analysis, or
Partial Differential Equations). Nonetheless the problems are hard.
In 2005, there were a total of 3545 contestants from 500 institutions.
Nearly half scored 0/120, but the median score was 1/120.
If you have any questions contact:
Geoffrey Mess (MS 5372), Olga Radko (MS 5366), or Luminita Vese (MS 7620D).
Professor Radko also runs the department's Problem of the Week .
MEETINGS SCHEDULE AND TOPICS
Every Tuesday 3-5pm, room: MS 5138. There are also Friday sessions from time to time, 3-4pm, MS 6118.
Week 1 (Oct. 3rd): Tuesday, 3-5 pm, location MS 6943.
Week 2 (Oct. 10th): Tuesday 3-5pm, Continuation on inequalities and telescoping sums.
Week 3 (Oct. 17th): Tuesday 3-5pm, Combinatorics problems. New location MS 5138.
Week 4 (Oct. 24th): More on combinatorics problems.
Week 5 (Oct. 31): More on inequalities.
Week 6 (Nov. 7): More on combinatorics.
Week 7 (Nov. 14): Recurrence relations.
Bruin Math Contest: Thursday, November 16, time 7-9pm (open to all UCLA undergraduates).
Week 8 (Nov. 21): TBA
Week 9 (Nov. 28): TBA
Putnam competition: Saturday, Dec. 2nd, in MS 6221. Remember to arrive by 7.50am.
Yu Man Tan,
Andini Christina Wibowo,
Omid M. Noorani,
Felipe Garcia Hernandez,
How To Solve It, by G. Polya. (An interesting book, but Polya's
suggestions about how to attack problems aren't really specific
enough to help a lot.)
Mathematical Problem Solving, by A. Schoenfeld. It's a serious book
about the psychology of problem solving. It won't immediately make you
better at solving mathematical problems, but you might gain from
becoming more reflective about your mathematical thinking.
Problem Solving through Problems, by L. Larsen.
The Green Book of Mathematical Problems, by K. Hardy and K. S. Williams
The Red Book of Mathematical Problems, by K. Hardy and K. S. Williams
(These two books are Dover paperbacks, $8.95 each, so you could easily afford one.)
Techniques of Problem Solving, by S. G. Krantz
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Problems
and Solutions: 1938-1964, by Gleason, Greenwood and Kelly.
The William Lowell Putnam mathematical competition. Problems
and solutions: 1965-1984, ed. Alexanderson, Klosinski and Larson.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. 1985-2000.
Problems, Solutions and Commentary, ed. Kedlaya.
PROBLEMS AND HANDOUTS POSTED THIS QUARTER
Set I (posted on August 18, 2006, prepared by Geoffrey Mess).
Some geometry problems (posted on September 4, 2006, prepared by Olga Radko).
Some trigonometry problems (posted on October 2nd, 2006, prepared by Geoffrey Mess).
Problems and notes on Inequalities (posted on October 3rd, 2006, prepared by Olga Radko).
Some combinatorics notes (posted on October 17, 2006, prepared by Luminita Vese).
Summation problems (posted on October 20, 2006, prepared by Geoffrey Mess).
Pigeonhole Problems (posted on November 05, 2006, prepared by Geoffrey Mess).
Recurrence relations problems (posted on November 14, 2006, prepared by Luminita Vese ).
PROBLEMS FROM ARCHIVES
An archive of old Putnam problems (almost complete)
Another archive of Putnam problems
We strongly suggest that you start working the problems without looking at solutions.