Math 299, Fall 2015

Problem Solving in Mathematics


Course description: This course is designed to help students prepare for the Putnam Examination, a national competition held each December. Each week, you'll be assigned a set to work on outside of class. You'll also be expected to, independently, choose problems of interest to you. We'll spend the class time discussing the solutions to those problems and introducing the new ones for the coming week. YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE ALL OF THE PROBLEMS PRESENTED!!!! Click here for a more detailed schedule

Instructor: Barry Balof

Office: 236 Olin Hall

Location: 245 Olin Hall Time: Tuesdays at 12

Book: The Art and Craft of Problem Solving (Second Edition) by Paul Zeitz

Homework: Homework will be posted here . You will be expected to arrive each week ready to participate. You will be expected to contribute throughout the semester to the in-class presentation of the problems assigned, as well as in your groups during class time.

Notebooks: For this class, you will be required to keep a conjecture notebook. You will use this space to brainstorm problems from week to week, as well as write up solutions, either before or after they are presented in class. There will also be occasional specific writing assignments for the notebooks. I will collect these notebooks roughly every other week.

Expected Effort: You should be putting in roughly two hours of work for each hour spent in class. The level of problems that you attack should be commensurate with your background in other math classes and experience in the seminar. The hope is, as with any other athletic or competitive endeavor, that you will improve throughout the semester in anticipation of the....

Putnam Exam: Saturday, December 5 th , 8AM-4PM. See here for more details, or here for a history of past problems.

Grading: This course is graded Credit/No Credit. Credit will be awarded based on your weekly participation as well as sitting for the Putnam Exam on December 6.

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