Mathematics 281S, Fall 2022

Problem Solving Seminar

Instructor: Lenny Ng
Meeting time: Wednesdays 5:15-6:30 pm
Location: Physics 119
Office hours: TBA, and by appointment.

Course information

Here is the syllabus for this course (currently tentative and subject to change).

In this half-credit seminar, you will develop and hone your mathematical problem solving skills. Each week you'll be challenged with fun, recreational, and unconventional problems on a different topic. Topics will range widely through areas such as number theory, algebra, combinatorics, probability, and geometry, with a focus on areas that aren't typically part of a conventional math curriculum. Solving many of the problems will involve just as much creativity as technical knowledge.

This is a working seminar. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in the class meetings. There will be weekly problem sets consisting of a variety of problems around a theme of the week; each student will write up solutions to two problems of their choosing from the problem set. Your grade will be based on your problem sets and class attendance/participation.

Prerequisites are minimal, and everyone is welcome regardless of background! However, instructor permission is required. Please email Professor Ng if you are interested, and include the following information: what math courses you've taken at Duke, including courses you're planning to take in fall 2022, and any other relevant problem-solving experience (from math competitions or anywhere else).

Please note: the department also offers another half-credit seminar (Math 283S, known until 2020 as Math 281S), aimed more toward mathematical competitions.