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Mathematical Olympiad Challenges Paperback – December 9, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0817645281 ISBN-10: 0817645284 Edition: 2nd ed. 2009

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Mathematical Olympiad Challenges + 102 Combinatorial Problems + 104 Number Theory Problems: From the Training of the USA IMO Team
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Birkhäuser; 2nd ed. 2009 edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817645284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817645281
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

"The authors are experienced problem solvers and coaches of mathematics teams. This expertise shows through and the result is a volume that would be a welcome addition to any mathematician's bookshelf."—MAA Online

"This [book] is…much more than just another collection of interesting, challenging problems, but is instead organized specifically for learning. The book expertly weaves together related problems, so that insights gradually become techniques, tricks slowly become methods, and methods eventually evolve into mastery…. The book is aimed at motivated high school and beginning college students and instructors. It can be used as a text for advanced problem-solving courses, for self-study, or as a resource for teachers and students training for mathematical competitions, and for teacher professional development, seminars, and workshops.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in creative problem-solving in mathematics…. It has already taken up a prized position in my personal library, and is bound to provide me with many hours of intellectual pleasure."—The Mathematical Gazette

"The Olympiad book is easier to describe since the format of the Olympiad competition and the books it has spawned will be well known to most Gazette readers. … The authors have organised the material to reduce the pain … and to make the material a genuine learning experience for Olympian hopefuls and their teachers. … a valuable addition to the problem literature, and their organisational features are generally helpful rather than merely attempts to look different." (John Baylis, The Mathematical Gazette, July, 2004)

Book Description

2nd edition, soft cover

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Yes, I like this book and I warmly recommend it to all lovers of problem solving.
marian deaconescu
I am more familiar with Razvan Gelca who led the University of Michigan team to a top five finish in the highly competitive and extremely challenging Putnam exam.
Krishnan Shankar
I remember the first time I touched this book, i fell so in love with it that it was very hard for me to remember how many other things I had to do during my day.
G. C. Diaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Krishnan Shankar on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book, Mathematical Olympiad Challenges", is a delightful book on problem solving written by two of the leaders of the craft. Mathematical problem solving is a skill that can be honed like any other and this book is an ideal tool for the job. Problem solving usually involves elementary mathematics; this does not mean "easy mathematics". An elementary mathematical problem is one that is easily stated and can be understood by anyone who has had basic training in the subject (up to calculus). The solution, though, may be quite hard and may require a great deal of ingenuity and thought.
It should be noted that being an exceptional problem solver does not necessarily make one a good mathematician, but it helps. This is certainly true of the second author who is also a renowned mathematician in the field of knot theory and three dimensional topology.
As mentioned the two authors have a sterling record in the arena of problem solving and in coaching would be problem solvers. I am more familiar with Razvan Gelca who led the University of Michigan team to a top five finish in the highly competitive and extremely challenging Putnam exam. This exam is administered yearly and is open to all college students in North America; usually around 430 universities and colleges send teams to compete in the Putnam. The exam has been offered since the thirties and finishing at the top carries a great deal of prestige. Razvan's superior abilities led to the spectacular success of the Michigan team which was no mean feat.
My own experience with the book has been one of revelation with each passing page. I used the book to teach the problem solving course at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and it helped me immensely.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By marian deaconescu on February 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have spent many entertaining hours going through the book only to realize how rusty I became in these last 25 years that passed since I was faighting a hopeless battle in the Romanian solvers' contest against the first author.
The book is centered around a number of tools, tricks, techniques, as you want to name them, which are then used to solve a number of problems depending on them.
The problems are carefully arranged in increasing order of difficulty (maybe that's the reason I was able to solve some of the first entries!), so that the reader is not immediately discouraged by problems too hard to solve.
The actual selection of the problems clearly reflects the taste of the authors. Not a bad taste, I would say, if one notices that Titu Andreescu was the man behind the brilliant success of the USA olimpic team in 1994 (all whose members got then the maximum possible number of points).
I was one of the coaches of an olimpic team myself and I know how fast one goes through a list, I would say through *any* list of problems with these gifted guys. From this point of view, the book is an essential instrument for all who contemplate being involved in problem solving training.
But the book is a good teaching tool for high school teachers who wish to challenge their best students with more interesting problems. As another potential pool of customers, I would say that those old sea wolfs as myself, who get bored from time to time of the technicalities of professional maths will find this book a nice companion.
Yes, I like this book and I warmly recommend it to all lovers of problem solving.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous book for lovers of mathematical problems. Scattered about are wonderful problems in Geometry, Trig, Algebra and Analysis, Invariants, and Number Theory. A truly delightful read that will have you working on some problems for hours. Each section introduces the reader to the concept or technique needed to solve the problems in each section. The problem sets start off with a few "warm-up" problems that quickly build up to some that require keen (some brilliant!) insight. A true gem among most problem books since this book is not merely a book of problems, but also contains clear presentations and introductions to various concepts in mathematics. The solutions are a true delight, the ingenuity and beauty of mathematical problem solving is captured exquisitely in this fabulous book. Highly Recommended. A++
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Diaz on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I remember the first time I touched this book, i fell so in love with it that it was very hard for me to remember how many other things I had to do during my day. It really illustrated how every problem you solve (or at least try really hard) can be an entire lesson you can use later on.
It is very well organized, even the problems in each section are set in a way that each one helps with the previous one in case a more creative solution doesn't show up...
I love this book, and I really recommend it for any student studying for any math contest around the world. It really helped me, and I'm sure it will do the exact same thing to anyone with the desire to spend countless hours solving beautiful math problems. Good luck, God bless you all :)
Pura vida.
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More About the Author

Dr. Titu Andreescu is an associate professor of mathematics in the Science and Mathematics Education department at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Much of his career has been devoted to competition math, an efficient medium for teaching creative problem-solving for a wide-range of math topics. With over 30 years of experience teaching, coaching, and mentoring the brightest mathematical minds of our age, Dr. Andreescu's books are essential for every math enthusiast's library. Here are just a few highlights from his distinguished career:

-Authored, co-authored, and edited more than 40 math books and publications
-Head coach and leader of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) for 8 years
-Director of the Mathematical Association of American (MAA) American Mathematics -Competitions for 5 years
-Has contributed hundreds of problems to various math competitions including and up to the IMO
-Co-founder of the Purple Comet! Math Meet, the first international team based math competition, http://www.purplecomet.org/
-Founder and Director of AwesomeMath, an organization that provides enriching experiences in mathematics to intellectually curious learners, https://www.awesomemath.org/

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