Fall 2008 Undergraduate Mathematics Problem Seminar

Organizers: Professor Michael Saks and Professor Anders Buch
Time: Tuesday, 3rd period 12:00-1:20
Place: SEC 220
Course Number: 01:640:491:01  (1 credit seminar, by special permission only, instructions for applying )
Text:  Problem Solving Through Problems, by Loren C. Larsen

This is a seminar in mathematical problem solving.  It is aimed at undergraduate students who enjoy solving mathematical problems in a variety of areas, and want to strengthen their creative mathematical skills, and their skills at doing mathematical proofs.

One of the main goals of this seminar is to help interested students prepare for the William Lowell Putnam Undergraduate Mathematics Competition , which is an annual national mathematics competition held every December. Any full-time undergraduate who does not yet have a college degree is eligible to participate in the exam. (However, you are free to participate in the seminar without taking the exam, and vice versa.)

The seminar is being offered under course number 640:491 and is worth one unit of credit.   Students who have taken the seminar previously may not register for it, but are very welcome to attend.

The meetings of the seminar will be a mixture of presentations by the instructors, group discussions of problems, and student presentations.

The seminar qualifies as an honors seminar for the honors track .

All students taking the seminar are expected to:

  • Attend regularly.
  • Participate actively in group problem solving.
  • Take their turn presenting a problem solution to the class.
  • Read text book chapter to be covered in advance of the seminar meeting.
  • Work on some of the assigned problems and turn in a carefully written solution for at least one problem per week. Students taking the seminar for honors track credit will have additional requirements consisting either of doing additional problems or doing more extensive class presentations.

    Applying and Registering To apply for admission to the seminar, submit a "Special Permission Application Form -- Honors Courses Only" form: http://www.math.rutgers.edu/undergrad/forms/SP_Honors.pdf to the undergraduate office (Hill 303).

    Meeting Date Read before class Problems to be discussed
    September 9 None Problem Set 1
    September 16 Chapter 1 Problem Set 1
    September 23 Chapter 2.6, 3.1,3.2 Problem Set 2
    September 30 Chapter 3.3,3.4 Problem Set 3
    October 7 Chapter 4.1,4.2 Problem Set 4
    October 14 Chapter 4.3,5.1,5.2 Problem Set 5
    October 21 Chapter 7.1,7.2,7.3 Problem Set 6
    October 28 Chapters 7.1,7.2,7.6 Problem Set 7
    November 4 Problem Set 8
    November 11 Problem Set 9
    December 2 (1985 Putnam exam)