Make training non zero-sum

Some thoughts about some modern trends in mathematical olympiads that may be concerning. I. The story of the barycentric coordinates I worry about my geometry book. To explain why, let me tell you a story. When I was in high school about six years ago, barycentric coordinates were nearly unknown as an olympiad technique. I… Continue reading Make training non zero-sum

An apology for HMMT 2016

Median Putnam contestants, willing to devote one of the last Saturdays before final exams to a math test, are likely to receive an advanced degree in the sciences. It is counterproductive on many levels to leave them feeling like total idiots. --- Bruce Reznick, "Some Thoughts on Writing for the Putnam" Last February I made… Continue reading An apology for HMMT 2016

Some Thoughts on Olympiad Material Design

(This is a bit of a follow-up to the solution reading post last month. Spoiler warnings: USAMO 2014/6, USAMO 2012/2, TSTST 2016/4, and hints for ELMO 2013/1, IMO 2016/2.) I want to say a little about the process which I use to design my olympiad handouts and classes these days (and thus by extension the… Continue reading Some Thoughts on Olympiad Material Design

Stop Paying Me Per Hour

Occasionally I am approached by parents who ask me if I am available to teach their child in olympiad math. This is flattering enough that I've even said yes a few times, but I'm always confused why the question is "can you tutor my child?" instead of "do you think tutoring would help, and if… Continue reading Stop Paying Me Per Hour

On Problem Sets

(It appears to be May 7 -- good luck to all the national MathCounts competitors tomorrow!) 1. An 8.044 Problem Recently I saw a 8.044 physics problem set which contained the problem Consider a system of $latex {N}&fg=000000$ almost independent harmonic oscillators whose energy in a microcanonical ensemble is given by $latex {E = \frac… Continue reading On Problem Sets

Teaching A* USAMO Camp

In the last week of December I got a position as the morning instructor for the A* USAMO winter camp. Having long lost interest in coaching for short-answer contests, I'd been looking forward to an opportunity to teach an olympiad class for ages, and so I was absolutely psyched for that week. In this post… Continue reading Teaching A* USAMO Camp