Competitions and Prizes

News items:  2023 undergraduate prize announcement

The Anthony D. Stanley , George Beckwith and Deforest prizes are divided annually among students chosen by the Department.

More information about the three prizes

General note: Each student is eligible to win one prize only, even across different years. 

ANTHONY D. STANLEY MEMORIAL (1904). Walter S. Pitkin, B.A. 1858, in memory of his uncle, Professor Anthony D. Stanley, B.A. 1830. Awarded for excellence in pure and applied mathematics. (This prize is typically awarded to a junior mathematics major.)

GEORGE BECKWITH (1926). Dr. Glover C. Beckwith-Ewell of Hartford, Connecticut, in memory of his grandfather, George Beckwith, publisher of Beckwith’s Almanac. For the undergraduate most proficient in some branch of astronomy or mathematics. (This prize is typically awarded to a junior or senior mathematics major.)

DEFOREST (1855). Established by John DeForest, B.A. 1826, and increased in 1886 by his son, Erastus L. DeForest, B.A. 1854. Awarded to two seniors for proficiency in pure and applied mathematics. (Only seniors are eligible for this prize.)

The John Alan Lewis Summer Research Fellowship will be awarded to an undergraduate student majoring in mathematics who wishes to pursue their studies over the summer. The prize amount was $6,000 in 2023, intended to cover expenses and provide a stipend for the recipient. International students are eligible for the prize, as are seniors (for the summer right after graduation). 

The deadline for submitting a proposal for Summer 2024 is February 2. The proposal should be sent to .

More information about the Lewis prize

Interested students should submit their proposals to the DUS by the deadline listed above. The proposal should describe an independent reading or research project which the student will undertake with the approval and guidance of a faculty member.

Please note that reading projects must be on topic(s) that are currently not taught in Yale classes. (There can be some small overlap - but we are not permitted to have an official reading project on the contents of Math 380, for example.) The same rule applies to Math 470 during the semester, and YSS independent research course during the summer. 

Your proposal should include:

  • Your name, and name of the faculty member who agreed to advise your project. 
  • Typically, a Lewis project would mean two months of full-time work. It could be a little shorter and more intensive, or a bit longer and less intensive. Please provide information about your plan in the proposal. 
  • A description of the project that you plan to work on. (There is some flexibility, to follow the project where it leads you in real time, but the proposal should describe the topic(s) and initial plan.)
  • Information about relevant text(s), paper(s), or other references. 

You must consult with your project adviser about the details of your proposal, especially the timeline (to make sure it fits their schedule) and the contents of your project. The adviser’s approval is an essential component of our selection process. 

Technical note: If your project receives funding from other sources, including funding to cover expenses, then it will only be eligible for a Lewis prize amount that brings up the existing funding to $6,000. For example, if you receive a 1,000 travel and accommodations funding and 2,000 stipend from elsewhere, then winning the Lewis prize will award 3,000. 


All Yale first-year and second-year students are eligible to take a competitive exam given at the end of the spring term. The Benjamin F. Barge prizes are distributed amongst the highest scorers: three prizes for first-year students, and three for second-year students. 

More information about the 2024 Barge exam

The 2024 Barge exam will take place on Sunday, April 28 from 1pm to 4pm. The practice sessions (see below) will be running weekly on Tuesdays 4 - 5:30pm. The first meeting will be on March 26, in BCT CO31. Subsequent meetings will be in HLH17, room 113. 

Signup for the test is through an online form. The deadline to sign up is  Monday, April 22. Responses submitted by March 8 will be used to select a meeting time for the weekly practice sessions (see below). 

While the exam is similar in style to competitions for high school students such as the International math olympiad, or contests for undergraduate students such as the Putnam exam, we encourage students without prior contest experience to participate. 

If you are interested in solving fun mathematics problems or learning how to do so, this might be a great experience for you. To support students who what to practice for the contest, or just to solve fun problems, we will be running a weekly practice session on Tuesdays, starting after Spring break. No prior math competition experience is required - everyone is welcome! 

If you have been granted testing accommodations through the SAS, please forward the official SAS notification for this semester to by April 22. 

A few sample questions from past years:

1. Fix a real number x. Define a sequence by a= 1, and an = (1+x^(2^n)) an-1 for all n > 1. For what values of x does this sequence converge? When it converges, what is the limit?

2. Let p be a prime and k a positive integer with k < p. How many k-element subsets {a1, …, ak} of {1, …, p} are there such that a1 + … + ak is divisible by p? 

3. Determine all (if any) integers a, b, c satisfying the following equation:

a2c + b4c = 2011

4. Suppose you have an equilateral triangle with vertices ABC. Let P be a point in your triangle, with |PA|=5, |PB|=4, and |PC|=3. Determine the area of the triangle with vertices PBC. 

5. Let a and b be natural numbers. For each natural number n, let pn be the greatest prime factor of an + b. Prove that there is a number M such that pn < M for infinitely many values of n. 


The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is a U.S. and Canada-wide undergraduate competition. The competition consists of two three-hour sessions generally held on the first Saturday in December. 

2023 Putnam information

The day of the 2023 contest is yet to be announced. Typically, it is on the first Sunday in December.

If you are interested in participating, you will need to register on the above site, after registration opens for students (probably in October). 

This year’s problem solving seminar will run on Mondays 7 - 9pm, starting on September 25. It is an enjoyable way to learn some problem solving skills and techniques useful in mathematics competitions (and many other places), collaborate with friends, and think about math puzzles. It is also great practice for this year’s Putnam exam. 

Dr. Andrew Yarmola, and math majors William Ning, Ayush Tibrewal, and Grant Zhang have planned a program that will be accessible and useful for students with all levels of math contest experience (including no experience at all - don’t hesitate to sign up and see what it’s like!) 

To read more about the seminar, and to sign up, click on the following form, prepared by the organizers.