Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Hunt!

Well, rumors come to pass at times.

The Math Club here at Hopkins has successfully organized and caried out a puzzle hunt, whereby student teams compete to solve a series of logical puzzles that carry them accross campus over the course of a day to find a hidden object (The Notorious Field's Medallion; The Field's Medal is a high award offered to outstanding accomplishments in research mathematics, and is treated much like the Nobel Prizes are in the sciences. The award is named after a mathematician who spent time here at Hopkins. Hecen we name our object after him also.)

I will talk more about the hunt in time. But suffice it to say that there will be a 2nd Hunt next Fall in September.

Congratulations both to the organizers of the Hunt, and to the winners.

Competitive Mathematics

Welcome back to everyone who has been here at Hopkins, and welcome to those who are new.

A word about some fall events. Mathematics is many things to many people, but to some it is actually a competitive sport. Here at Hopkins, we have two upcoming competitions that we register teams for and participate in:

Both are distributed exam competitions, which means they are offered locally at a university who has students registered to take the exam. Both offer undergraduate-level mathematics problems that require cleverness to solve well, and both offer cash prizes as well as the prestige of doing well in the competition. In fact, doing well on the Putnam is an accomplishment that should be placed prominantly on a resume or curriculum vitae (an academic resume, so to speak). And the Math Department offers a cash prize to the best performer from JHU. Last year, our two top Putnam performers ranked at 140th and 154th out of some 3640 participants.

Registration for the VTech competition is basically a matter for the Math Dept. here, and we will be registered. The exam is on Saturday, October 27, from 9am-11:30am.

Registration for the 68th national Putnam exam closes sometime around October 12, and the exam is held on Saturday, December 1, from 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm.

If you are interested in either of these competitions (and as a math major, I highly recommend that you consider these exams part of your training as a mathematician), please come in to talk to me. The Department also offers training sessions, organized with the Math Club here at Hopkins, which are weekly seminars. But more on that later....