Admissions & Aid
The purpose of the Putnam Club is to develop students’ problem-solving skills and to prepare them for competitions such as the CUNY Math Challenge, the Mathematics Department’s annual Prize Examinations, and the prestigious Putnam Competition (a competition that includes most colleges from the United States and Canada).
David Aulicino, Associate Professor
Heidi Goodson, Assistant Professor
If you would like to join the Putnam Club or to find out more information about the club, e-mail David Aulicino or Heidi Goodson.
In Fall 2023, the Putnam Club will meet on Mondays from 1-2 p.m. in Ingersoll 1146. Students are welcome to participate in the discussions even if they do not wish to participate in any competitions.
You may join the Putnam Club at any point in the semester.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition began in 1938 as a competition between mathematics departments at colleges and universities. Now the competition has grown to be the preeminent undergraduate mathematics competition in the United States and Canada as well as the leading university-level mathematics exam in the world. Each year, on the first Saturday in December, more than 4,000 students spend two three-hour sessions solving 12 challenging mathematical problems. Prizes are awarded to the participants with the highest scores and to the departments of mathematics of the five institutions whose teams obtain the highest rankings. Cash prizes for the top five teams range from $25,000 to $5,000. Cash prizes for the top five students, honored as Putnam Fellows, are $2,500 each; other top students also receive prizes for their performance on the Putnam Mathematical Competition.
The Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize was established in 1992 to be “awarded periodically to a woman whose performance on the Competition has been deemed particularly meritorious.” Recent winners of the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize have received $1,000.
Over the years many of the winners of the Putnam competition have become distinguished mathematicians. A number of them have received the Fields Medal and several have won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Junior and Senior Prize Examinations will be given by the Mathematics Department on Friday, February 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 1146 Ingersoll Hall. The Senior Prize Examination is open to any Brooklyn College undergraduate in the day or evening session. The Junior Prize Examination is open to any Brooklyn College undergraduate who did not receive credit for Calculus 2 (MATH 1206) or the equivalent earlier than the spring 2021 semester; this examination does not normally require knowledge of “advanced” topics.
Prizes are awarded as follows:
Recent examinations are posted here.
Scores of 20 or more (based on 10 points per problem) are usually sufficient to win awards. There is no penalty for doing badly; only names of award winners are revealed to the department. All interested students who think they can solve at least one problem are encouraged to compete.
If you wish to take either examination, sign up by the end of Friday, February 18, by sending an e-mail to Professor Benes, stating whether you are registering for the Junior or Senior Prize Examination. Signing up does not obligate you to participate in any way.
The 2021 Putnam Exam is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
The exam is given in two sessions: Part One (10 a.m.–1 p.m.) and Part Two (3–6 p.m.). To complete the exam, you must sit for both sessions.
An announcement concerning how to register will be made at a later time.
For the most up-to-date information on the competition, including rules and eligibility criteria, click here.
Students with questions should e-mail David Aulicino or Heidi Goodson.