Off on a Tangent A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics
 September 14, 2011 Vol. 10, No. 1 http://www.math.hope.edu/newsletter.html

 Recent hope grad returns to give colloquium

 Title: Symmetry, Wallpaper Patterns, and M. C. Escher Speaker: Megan Patnott, Notre Dame University (2007 Hope Graduate) Time:  Tuesday, September 20 at 4:00 pm Place:  VWF 104

Abstract: We often see repeating patterns used in decoration. All of these patterns remain unchanged if we shift them in the correct direction, but some of them can also be rotated or reflected over a line without the pattern changing. We call these shifts, rotations, and reflections symmetries of the pattern. If we are mainly interested in the symmetries of the patterns, then it turns out that there are only a very small number of types of patterns. We'll discuss four types of symmetry, the wallpaper patterns they lead to, and a variation on the classical wallpaper patterns.

Note: Please come to enjoy  refreshments with the speaker, the faculty, and fellow mathematics students before the colloquium at 3:30 pm in VanderWerf 222.

 Actuarial News

 Hope students and former Hope students continue to pursue and excel in actuarial programs.  Former Hope student Dan Emmendorfer recently became a member of the Society of Actuaries.  This comes after two years of studying and passing various actuarial exams.  Dan took some of these exams while a Hope student and reported to us, "Please continue to push your students to complete [the tests] during school. The process to meet those requirements outside of the classroom is a confusing and inconstant process."  Current Hope student Scott DeClaire is taking Dan's advice and studied for and passed the Financial Mathematics Actuarial Exam this past summer. For more information on Hope's Actuarial Program click here.

 Former Hope math students receive award

 Prof. Aaron Cinzori's 2006 summer research students, Dan Emmendorfer (Hope College), Martha Precup (Hope College), and Ashley Warren (Otterbein University), recently learned they won Pi Mu Epsilon's Andree Prize for their paper "Classification of Geometric Spirals" The Richard V. Andree Awards are given annually to the authors of the papers, written by undergraduate students, that have been judged by the officers and councilors of Pi Mu Epsilon to be the best that have appeared in the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal in the past year. Dan Emmendorfer is now an actuary and Martha Precup is a mathematics graduate student studying Algebra and Topolgy at the University of Notre Dame.

 Memorial scheduled for Prof. Mary DeYoung

 Please join us in a service of celebration in honor of Mary DeYoung of the Hope College mathematics faculty.  It will be held at Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m. MDY, as she was know to her students, died at age 58 on Monday, July 25, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.  She had been a member of the Hope faculty since 1982, and was a 1975 Hope graduate.

 Is tau the new pi?

 Pi is so 2008, now is the time for Tau.  Well at least that is the claim of some mathematicians.  This growing revolution says we should dump the number pi in favor of tau (which is twice pi).  Their argument is that tau is easier to work with than pi.   It makes us wonder if the group pushing tau is the same bunch of radicals that wanted us to give up our beloved pounds and feet in favor of the crazy kilogram and meter.  And If that tau crowd gets their way, what is going to happen to those people that spent years memorizing thousands of digits of pi only to find out it is as obsolete as the busy signal?  Are you ready for a calculator with a tau button? For more information about tau see Vi Hart's video or check out tauday.com.

 Fun times at the recent departmental ice cream social

 Problem of the Fortnight

 An absent-minded bank teller switched the dollars and cents when he cashed a check for Mrs. Brown, giving her dollars instead of cents, and cents instead of dollars.  After buying a five cent Tootsie Roll, Mrs. Brown discovered that she had left exactly twice as much as her original check.  What was the amount of the check? Tape a Tootsie Roll (wrapped, please) to your complete solution, and submit it to the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Pearson's office (VWF 212) by 3:00 on Friday, September 23.  As always, be sure to include your name, the name(s) of your math professor(s), and your math class(es) -- e.g. Ward Back, Professor Ambiguo, Math 137 -- on your solution.

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

Rabindranath Tagore

 Off on a Tangent