The William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition is a North American math contest for college students. Each year on the first Saturday in December, over 2000 students spend 6 hours (in two sittings) trying to solve 12 problems. Individual and team winners (and their schools, in the latter case) get some money and a few minutes of fame.
The material on this page is intended to supplement the MAA's three existing compilations of Putnam exams. These books are:
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Problems and solutions: 1938-1964, by Gleason, Greenwood and Kelly;
The William Lowell Putnam mathematical competition. Problems and solutions: 1965-1984, edited by Alexanderson, Klosinski and Larson;
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition 1985-2000: Problems, Solutions and Commentary, by Kedlaya, Poonen and Vakil.
All three are currently in print, and should be available for purchase through the MAA or
Problem statements given here are verbatim from the competition (except some diagrams are missing),
and are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America. They appear here with permission,
but unauthorized further redistribution is subject to copyright restrictions.
Solutions given here are compiled based on numerous sources, including many competitors; copyright
is held by the named authors, who request that you link to this page in lieu of reproducing these
solutions elsewhere. Please do not refer to these as "official solutions", as this creates confusion
with the true official solutions issued by the MAA reflecting the intent of the problem setters.
Those appear in the official exam summary, along with results and statistics,
in the American Mathematical Monthly sometime in the year following the competition,
usually in October. (One typically also finds solutions in
Mathematics Magazine in early spring.) Results given here are taken from the summaries sent to participating schools along with exam results;
this typically occurs in early April of the year following the competition.
For corrections and other comments on this directory only, notify Kiran Kedlaya
(kedlaya at mit dot edu).
Results and statistics from the 2011 competition, held December 3, are now posted.