A Passel of Putnam Problem People!

This year as every year Drs. Albert and Ozaydin are organizing the OU Putnam Problem Solving Group. It will meet on

Mondays at 5 pm in PHSC 1025 from now until the Putnam Exam.

The Putnam Exam is a famous exam which is held on the first Saturday in December around the country (and, indeed!, around the world).  You can win great prizes (like a scholarship to Harvard!).  And we’ll bet that if you get the top score on the Putnam Exam, the OU Math Department will give you full scholarship to OU!

It was founded in 1927 by Elizabeth Lowell Putnam in honor of her husband William Lowell Putnam.

William Lowell Putnam and professional Teddy Rosevelt impersonator

William Lowell Putnam and professional Teddy Roosevelt impersonator.

We should mention that the exam has 12 questions, each graded out of 10 points, for a total of 120 points.  If you score any points at all, it puts you in the top half of the exam takers! So probably you shouldn’t depend on your Putnam prize money for next year’s tuition :-).


Whether or not you want to take the exam itself, stop by the OU Putnam Problem solving group to have fun and work on interesting problems like this one:

Players 1, 2, 3, …, n are seated around a table and each has a single penny. Player 1 passes a penny to Player 2, who then passes two pennies to Player 3. Player 3 then passes one penny to Player 4, who passes two pennies to Player 5, and so on, players alternately passing one penny or two to the next player who still has some pennies. A player who runs out of pennies drops out of the game and leaves the table. Find an infinite set of numbers n for which some player ends up with all n pennies.

— From the Putnam Exam webpage

Game On!