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The College of Arts Sciences

Math Contests for Undergraduates

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William Lowell Putnam Competition - First Saturday in December

Do you like to puzzle over math puzzles? Do you like to work on the hard problems in your math classes? Do you like problems with an “aha!” solution? If any of these are true, then you should enjoy the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. The Putnam competition consists of twelve questions to be solved during the course of two three-hour sessions. The challenging questions pose problems such as:

“Prove or disprove whether it is possible to color each point in the Euclidean plane with nine colors so that no two points with the same color are a unit distance apart.”

The competition is open to any registered undergraduate in the U.S. or Canada. Cash prizes are awarded to the top ten students; a team is chosen from each school and the schools with the top five winning teams also receive cash prizes.

Weekly practice sessions are conducted throughout the fall semester for those students who are interested in playing with interesting mathematical problems.

More information about the Putnam Competition at Cornell

Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) - Early February

MCM is an international competition, in which a team of three undergraduates chooses one of two open-ended (“real-world”) problems, builds a mathematical model, obtains a solution based on it, and writes a detailed paper (proving the feasibility of the team's model and solution) — all this in the space of less than 4 days!

More information about the Mathematical Modeling Contest at Cornell

Cornell First-Year Math Prize Exam - March/April

Are you a first-year undergraduate, and do you liking working on challenging and FUN math problems? Do you want to win a $$$ prize? Then the the annual First-Year Mathematics Prize Exam is for you!

More information about the First-Year Prize Exam