MATH 190 "Topics in Problem Solving"

Office Hours
M 16:50-18:05 Hylan 1106A Dan-Andrei Geba TR 11:00-12:00 or by appointment, Hylan 806


This class is primarily aimed at students with an interest in the problem solving approach to mathematics, and, in particular, at participants in college-level mathematics contests such as:

Our main goal will be to discuss and solve challenging, non-standard mathematical problems, which rely mostly on the material covered in the MATH 171-174 course series. We will particularly work on improving:

The grade for this course is entirely based on a number of written assignments. Out of the 6 assignments, only the best 5 will count towards your course grade. There will be no make-up homework.

The homework should be turned in on paper by the start of the following lecture.

You are responsible for knowing and abiding by the University of Rochester's academic honesty policy. Any violation of academic honesty will be pursued according to the specified procedures.

Extra resources

1. The following books on problem solving can be found as e-books on the website of the University of Rochester libraries:

2. You might also find useful the largest online forum dedicated to problem solving, Art of Problem Solving.

Tentative weekly schedule

Date Lecture topic Written assignment
9/5 Organizational, introductory Zoom meeting; Notes.
9/19 Calculus (Handout) Homework 1 (due 10/3)
10/3 Calculus (Handout) Homework 2 (due 10/17)
10/17 Multivariable calculus (Handout) Homework 3 (due 10/31)
10/31 Multivariable calculus (Handout) Homework 4 (due 11/14)
11/14 Polynomials (Handout) Homework 5 (due 11/28)
11/28 Linear Algebra (Handout) Homework 6 (due 12/12)
12/12 Discussion of the Putnam competition