|48 Hours of Putnam
A behind the scene look at how the toughest mathematics test, the
Putnam Exam, is graded. If you thought taking the exam was grueling, you
should try grading it. Have you ever wondered why the median score on
the exam was so low? And what happens to all those erasure droppings
left in the folder? By understanding the grading process, you might
devise better Putnam taking strategies.
Joseph A. Gallian
Trivia and statistics on Putnam performances through the years. Many
of us are aware that the median score is very low. But do you know how
many Nobel Prize winners were Putnam Fellows? Or the highest team
finish by a liberal art school? Or the number of perfect scores
throughout the history of the competition? All these questions and more
will be answered for your amusement.
Pizza, & Problem Solving
Andrew Bernoff & Francis Edward Su
How to participate and get prepared for the Putnam exam from seasoned
coaches of a successful problem solving seminar.
Possible Poincaré Proof
Who was Poincaré, what is his conjecture, how did it arise, why is
it so important, and why is it taking the experts so long to decide
whether or not the new proof is correct?
of a Contest Problem
Steven Dunbar & Kevin Hankin
Follow the two year development of a problem on the 2004 American
Invitational Mathematics Exam involving regular n-pointed stars.
See how the definition was refined and the final problem was posed.
After grappling with the problem, return to check your answer with the
solution available here.
Conversation with Melanie Wood
Joseph A. Gallian
Melanie Wood is a rising star in the mathematical community. Her list
of mathematical honors and prizes is impressive. She is currently a
graduate student at Princeton University studying algebraic number
theory. She reflects on some of her mathematical trials and successes
with our Math Horizons correspondent.
|How to Win
a Fellowship for Graduate Study
Evans M. Harrel & Michael Lacey
While many mathematics graduate students fund their education through
teaching assistantships, some get paid for doing the research they love.
Learn how to put your best face forward on research fellowship
applications with advice from seasoned reviewers for the NSF Graduate
Andy Niedermaier & Steven Byrnes
Students review The William Lowell Putnam Competition 1985-2000:
Probelms, Solutions, and Commentary by Kiran S. Kedlaya, Bjorn
Poonen and Ravi Vakil and Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the
World's Toughest Math Competition by Steven Olson.
As a high school student, Steven Byrnes won a $100,000 scholarship in
the Siemens-Westinghouse Competition for his insights into the theory of
the game Chomp. This article introduces you to his winning work.
St. Olaf College
Paul D. Humke & Paul Zorn
St. Olaf has an impressive record of producing mathematicians. See
what an Olaf mathematics degree has done for Kevin Casson, Tom
Halverson, Amy Stubbendick, and Theresa Wise.
Spotlight: The University of Washington
Undergraduates spend the summer working on the inverse problem for
Her Own Words
Kimberly Hopkins, the 2004 winner of the Association for Women in
Mathematics Alice T. Schafer prize, shares her winning "statement of
purpose" with Math Horizons readers.
Dozen Questions About: Pile Splitting
It is always a surprise when several people, despite their freedom of
choice, come to the same results in the end. Your dozenal correspondent
ponders twelve invariants inherent in a pile of buttons.
To be considered for publication, solutions to the following problems
should be received by November 10, 2004.
|Contest: Bus Problems
Do you have a favorite puzzle that is catch and appealing? The
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, CA, wants
to promote the joy of mathematics across the nation. The plan: To place
mathematical puzzles in advertising slots on busses, trains, and
subways. MSRI seeks ideas for puzzles and will reward you with $200 if
your idea in selected. See the inside back cover for more details.