Are you ready to take on the Problem of the Block (and earn culture points at the same time)? (Sorry, enrolled Cornell students only!)

Each block a new problem will be posted for your to tackle if you accept the challenge! You’ll earn points for solutions and the student that earns the most points at the end of the year will earn a prize. Cornell alumni are encouraged to submit solutions (or problem ideas!), but the prizes will be awarded to students only.


  • Ideally, you will work independently. If you work with other people, they must be acknowledged in the solution you turn in.

  • You must turn in your solution for each block's problem to Prof. Bean before the first day of the next block. 

  • A winner for each block will be decided on the basis of the best solution submitted. If no best solution can be determined (i.e. there exist relatively identical solutions), the winner will be the student who submitted the first best solution. (So, speed might just push you over the top.)

  • Each submission will be given 3 points for a fully correct solution and 1 point for a partially correct solution. The winner of each problem will get a bonus of e points.

  • This is a friendly competition. Do not try to find the solution to a problem by looking it up in a book or by searching online. That goes against the spirit of the contest. 

Current Problems

Academic year: 2020-21

Past Problems

Academic year: 2018-19

  • Block 1: Difference Triangles
  • Block 2: Polynomial Problems
  • Block 3: Negative-Based Campaign
  • Block 4: Know Your Limits! A Special Holiday Treat for Calculus Students
  • Block 7: Sweet Sixteen

Academic year: 2017-18

Turn in your solutions to Prof. Freeman via email jfreeman (at)