Williams 17th in 2009 Putnam

Continuing our strong performance in last year’s Putnam Competition, the Williams team (comprised from Nick Arnosti, Carlos Dominguez, Jake Levinson and Wei Sun) placed 17th in North America, with all four scoring in the top 500 of over 3000 students. Click here for the problems and solutions.

There are 12 problems on the Putnam; students have 6 hours, 3 in the morning, followed by a two hour break for lunch and to recharge, and then another 6 problems over 3 hours in the afternoon. Each is worth 10 points. Over 3000 took the exam this year; the mean and median scores were less than one question correct.

The Putnam is just one of many annual competitions; other contests Williams participates in are the Green Chicken against Middlebury and a regional contest in Central Connecticut.

Each Wednesday several students meet for dinner in the Dennett Private Dining Room in Mission to prepare for such competitions, as well as to see fun, interesting math. Typically I print out a math competition from somewhere in the world, and we have a live, brainstorming session. Most of these problems only require basic combinatorics or some calculus. You can get a sense of some of these problems by checking out our homepage here, or looking at a (very much work in progress) list of math competition strategies. For even more fun problems to look at, check out the math riddles page I maintain here, as well as the monthly Math/Stats Department Conundrum.

If there are any math problems you’ve heard and find interesting, please post them here!

Our meetings are open to all, and we hope to see you sometime soon.