|Off on a Tangent
|A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter
from the Hope
College Department of Mathematics
|March 7, 2012||Vol. 10, No. 10
Mathematics Competition takes place next month
The 36th Annual Lower
Michigan Mathematics Competition will be held at Calvin College this year
on Saturday, April 14. Students from colleges and universities in Michigan
will gather to challenge themselves on 10 interesting problems, working together
in teams of up to three people. The competition takes place in the morning
and after lunch there is a discussion of the solutions.
|Math in the News: Do birds know how to add?|
In our last newsletter, we brought you information about pigeons that could distinguish between the size of various numbers. It seems a parrot has now shown off some more complex mathematical ability. The recently published final experiments involving Alex, an African grey parrot, reveal a talent for addition.
According to Nature, “[The experiments] show that Alex could accurately add together two Arabic numerals to a sum of eight and the total number of objects under three cups, putting his mathematical abilities on par with (and maybe beyond) those of chimpanzees and other non-human primates.”
Read the full article from Nature here.
of the Fortnight
||We had the following story in our last
problem of the fortnight:
"Well, I've come out second best in my battle with the union," said Noah van Ark.
"How so?" asked his sister Joan.
"Well, I needed to have the union workers move thousands of crates. The exact number," said Noah, consulting his notebook, "was 69,489. The job took nine working days. I didn't think the union workers were putting all they had into it, but the union leaders thought otherwise. Every day after the first day, I put six more workers on the job; and every day after the first day, each of the workers -- by arrangement -- shifted five fewer crates than was the quota for the day before. The result was that, during the latter part of the period, the number of crates being moved actually began to go down."
What was the largest number of crates moved on any one day?
Congratulations to Allison Leigon, Eric Lunderberg, Melanie Leonard, Elisa Shibley, David Dolfin, David McMorris, Lisa McLellan, Megan Kelley, Danielle Maly, Rebecca Budde, Bobby Nash, Erica Budge, Lauren Warren, and Nicole Zeinstra -- all of whom correctly determined that the largest number of crates moved on any one day was 7980.
|Problem of the
||A kayaker was paddling across the still
surface of Lake Macatawa early one morning when she saw a beautiful large-mouth
bass jump in the water directly in front of her kayak. She counted
twelve strokes until she came to the first ever-widening circle the fish
had made, and twelve strokes later she broke through the circle on the opposite
side. For some time she occupied her thoughts by trying to calculate
how many strokes away from her the fish had been when it jumped, but this
mathematical diversion was interrupted when she noticed a Bald Eagle swoop
down from a nearby tree in an attempt to nab a fish breakfast. Can
you complete her calculation?
How many strokes away from her kayak was the fish when it jumped?
Write your solution (not just the answer) on the back of a Big Mouth Billy Bass (The Motion Activated Singing Sensation) -- the same kind of classy and classic wall ornament that adorns Professor Bekmetjev's office -- to the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Pearson's office (VWF 212) by Noon on Thursday, March 15. As always, please be sure to include your name and the name(s) of your math professor(s) -- e.g. William Bass, Professor Moe Fish -- on your solution.
|Off on a