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Dear Professor Greitzer - Sam Greitzer

Joe Richards and Don Crossfield

Dr. Sam Greitzer was a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University in the mid 1900s. He started the USAMO, a sequel to the American High School Mathematics Exam, in 1971, and was the guiding force behind the organization of the Mathematical Olympiad Program in 1974. Rutgers currently offers the Samuel Greitzer Award to an outstanding graduating mathematics major at their Newark campus.

Greitzer wrote numerous works, perhaps the most famous being one co-authored with H.M.S. Coxeter on Geometry. A Google search will link his name with a large, but finite, number of publications. One of two that deserve a special mention here is "Credit where credit is due," Mathematics Teacher, 60 (1967), pp. 155-156. It is a quick summary of many historical events that a teacher could talk about when introducing a new topic to a class. Besides the 32 historical tidbits, the article also gives the reader sources where more information can be found concerning each event. A peer review called it “A good article for future high school teachers.”

The second of the two is a magazine, called Arbelos, which was published during the 1980s, for “Precollege Philomaths”. Contact MAA American Mathematics Competitions (MAA AMC: to inquire about purchasing copies.

The six volumes in this series are of special interest to students preparing for free-response examinations in mathematics. A peer review of these issues says that “They especially help to make USA students competitive in geometry within the international community.” We have found numerous intriguing mathematical tidbits within its pages, one of which prompted our article.