The Competition

The David Essner Mathematics Competition was established as a memorial to David Essner and is sponsored by the Essner Family and the University of Miami Department of Mathematics. Since the academic year 1981-1982 it has been an annual competition that seeks to recognize outstanding mathematical talent among the secondary school students of Miami-Dade County in Florida.


  • The competition is open to all secondary schools, public and private, in Miami-Dade County.
  • The competition is a 3 hour exam consisting of a handful of problems whose solutions require creative mathematical thought.
  • The top scoring students are invited to an awards reception, along with parents or other guests and school representatives. Awards to the Top Five include cash prizes, plaques and mathematics books; certificates are provided to the other winners.

In memoriam

David Essner graduated from South Miami High School in 1975. While in high school he participated in a college level mathematics program, and by means of this and self study he was prepared for graduate study in mathematics when he entered the University of Miami in 1975. David enjoyed mathematics problem solving and mathematics competitions, and as an undergraduate student at Miami he participated in the Putnam Mathematics competition four times; in fact he delayed his graduation so that he could participate the fourth time. One year David was the top scorer on a three person University of Miami team that ranked 28th on the exam; normally about 300 university teams, including one from each of the prestigious universities, compete in the Putnam exam. In 1979 David graduated from Miami with majors in mathematics and physics. He then entered graduate study in mathematics at Miami and was awarded a University Fellowship. By reason of his advanced coursework as an undergraduate he was at the beginning virtually ready for the Ph.D qualifying exam which he passed at the end of his first year of graduate study. During his second year of graduate study, in November 1980, he was fatally injured in a motorbike accident.
The Essner Competition Administrators

Dr. Paul McDougle, Dr. Subramanian Ramakrishnan, and Dr. Kenneth Baker
Contact Information

The David Essner Mathematics Competition
Department of Mathematics, University of Miami
1365 Memorial Drive, Ungar 515