MAT 260  Problem Solving in Mathematics   Fall 2016 

Monday 4 - 5:20 p.m. Physics P128

Instructor: Ljudmila Kamenova

Office: Math Tower 3-115
Office hours: Wednesdays 11am - noon in the MLC, noon - 2pm in 3-115

The Putnam competition will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2016 for registered participants, from 10am to 1pm and from 3 to 6pm, in Math Tower 4-130.

This course is intended for students preparing for the Putnam exam, a competitive national mathematics exam for undergraduates which is held each December. It can be taken repeatedly for credit. Students actively solve challenging problems in plane geometry, basic number theory, and calculus, and write precise arguments. Relevant preparation for problem-solving is provided in the course.

Here is a tentative syllabus: the pigeonhole principle, linear algebra, congruences and divisibility, inequalities, probability theory, recurrences, analysis, invariants, problems from past Putnams.

Kiran Kedlaya maintains a Putnam archive with some of the old Putnam problems, solutions, winners and statistics.

Recommended text: The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 1985-2000: Problems, Solutions, and Commentary , by Kiran S. Kedlaya, Bjorn Poonen, Ravi Vakil, published by the MAA (2002)

Grading: The grading will be based primarily on class participation and effort in solving problems. There will be no final exam and no rigid homework, but you will be expected to try your best to solve some of the problems offered for next week's discussion. Familiarity with basic concepts of analysis, algebra, and geometry will be assumed - please consult me if you are not sure about your background.

Stony Brook University expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of the institution; to observe national, state, and local laws as well as University regulations; and to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty must notify the Office of Judicial Affairs of any disruptive behavior that interferes with their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn.

DSS advisory. If you have a physical, psychiatric, medical, or learning disability that may affect your ability to carry out the assigned course work, please contact the office of Disabled Student Services (DSS), Humanities Building, room 133, telephone 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine what accommodations may be necessary and appropriate. All information regarding any disability will be treated as strictly confidential.

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