Professor McCullough and I are running the Putnam competition problem-solving seminar, one of whose aims is to motivate students to participate in the Putnam competition.
The Putnam is a challenging opportunity for you to test your mathematical mettle. This year the Putnam will take place on Saturday, December 4 ; there are two sessions, morning from 8 to 11 and afternoon from 1 to 4. The exam is very difficult; in most years the median score is 0, but in recent years the exam has gotten slightly easier with a median score of 1. Each year there are about 3600 students from colleges and universities across the US and Canada who take the test.
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.)
The introductory meeting for the seminar will be on Friday (10/08/10) at 3:10 PM in Surge 277. You can sign up for the Putnam there. If you're interested in signing up for the Putnam, but cannot make it to the meeting, please email one of us.
Prizes: In addition to the prestige of doing well on the test, there are also cash awards for students finishing in the top 25.