Way off on a Tangent A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics
 April 1, 2009 Vol. 7, No. 12 http://www.math.hope.edu/newsletter.html

 The Pennings family expands

Recently joining the household of Prof. Tim Pennings and dog Elvis is a bear cub named Boo Boo.  The young cub is shown to the left getting a good taste of Prof. Swanson’s daughter Emma.  When asked how Boo Boo was adjusting to life in his new home, Prof. Pennings said, “I’m just glad Boo Boo doesn’t have teeth yet.  Hopefully he can be taught not to eat and chew on everything (living or not) in sight.”

Just as Elvis comes to campus each day, Prof. Pennings hopes to have Boo Boo join him soon.  “Other professors will probably have to keep food out of their offices or lock their doors at all times.  But I don’t think they will have any problem with that.”  Pennings commented.

Everyone can look forward to welcoming Boo Boo in our hallways soon, but remember to keep your distance and make sure you don't have any food in your backpack.

 Prof. Cinzori proves that 1 = 2

Prof. Cinzori and a team of student researchers recently made a startling discovery that could have far reaching consequences.  It could revolutionize the dollar menu at many fast food restaurants, how many wives or husbands a person is allowed to have, and in almost everything in our daily lives.  He and his team has shown that 1 is the same as 2.  His proof is as follows.  You start out with the fact that -1/1 = 1/-1.
• Taking the square root of both sides you get .
• Simplifying this we have .
• This then means that   i/1 = 1/i.
• Multiplying both sides by a half we get  i / 2 = 1 / (2i).
• Adding 3/(2i) to each side we have  i/2 + 3/(2i) = 1/(2i) + 3/(2i).
• Multiplying both sides by i gives us  i(i/2 + 3/(2i) ) = i(1/(2i) + 3/(2i)).
• Distributing the i we get .
• We simplify to get: (-1)/2 + 3/2 = 1/2 + 3/2.
• Final simplification leads to our result: 1 = 2.
This summer, Cinzori and his team will work to try to show that 2 is the same as 3.  Proving this, will help with the justification of changing 2-credit classes into 3-credits.

 Math in the News: Sleep Number Bed introduces bed with a Pi setting

The Sleep Number Bed Company recently developed a circular bed.  After its development, they found that the integer sleep numbers just didn’t feel right for anyone.  About ready to scrap the idea, engineer Betty Bie came up with an idea.  “Instead of using integers, it would make sense to use multiples of pi,” stated Bie.  “When we made this switch, everyone loved the feel of the new bed.  It really gives you a transcendental sleep experience."

Bie also mentioned that they have a new bed that uses logarithmic sleep numbers.  While she wouldn’t tell us the shape of the new bed she did say when she uses it, she sleeps like a log.

 More Math in the News: Wake up to a bowl of mathematics!

To help people become more mathematically literate, cereal companies have started to include mathematical names in their products.  For example Honey Nut Cheerios are now called Honey Nut Tori.  The name of these donut-shaped pieces of cereal are known mathematically as a torus.  (The plural form is tori.)

Other cereals have followed suit and now the store shelves contain Crispy Hexagons, Golden Rectangles, Chocolate Peanut Butter Spheres, Cinnamon Toast Quadrilaterals, and Ellipsoid Crunch.

 The Problem of the Fortnight

Prove that every even integer greater than 2 can be written as a sum of two primes.

Write your solution (not just the answer!) on the back of a hundred dollar bill
and drop it off at Dr. Pearson's office (VWF 212) by noon on Wednesday, April 1.  As always, be sure to write your name, the name(s) of your professor(s), and your math class(es) on your solution (e.g. Yu R. Smart, Professor Goldbach).  Good luck, and have fun!

 Problem Solvers of the Fortnight

The solution to the last problem of the fortnight was is shown to the left.  Congratulations to the following problem solvers of the fortnight, who determined the correct solution: Harriet Knight, Carmine Dioxide, Rush Inuit, Turner Luce, Viola Fuss, Kurt Reply, Luke Warm, Hugo First, Horatio Algebra, Art Majors, Billy Aiken, Eileen Tudor-Wright, Hope Anna Prayer, Drew A. Blank, Major Error, Erasmus B. Dragon, Perry Winkle, Les Ismore, Borden Drousy, Jay Walker, Ivana Veekoff, Bud Inski, Ivan Inkling, Bjorn Liar, Les Digits, and Rick Shaw.

 Doesn't he mean differentiate?

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

~Mark Twain

 Way off on a Tangent