[Computational Complexity] The First Saturday in December
This Saturday comes the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. The contest is open to undergraduates at American universities. Any number can compete but each university picks three members ahead of time to serve as the team for that school.
As a freshman I did well on practice exams and made the 1981 Cornell University Putnam team. I rewarded their confidence by scoring the median score that year, a zero. Needless to say they didn't put me on the team again and I didn't even bother taking the exam my senior year.
Some members of our community have done very well on national and international math competitions. Some have done not so well but have turned into strong scientists nevertheless. Other people who have excelled at these competitions have not had success as mathematical researchers.
What conclusion can we draw? It takes more than mathematical problem solving to make a good mathematician.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 12/01/2005 03:07:00 PM