Off on a Tangent 
A Fortnightly Electronic
Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics 
October 9, 2015  Vol. 14, No. 3 
http://www.math.hope.edu/newsletter.html 
Hope graduate returns to present at next colloquium 
Title: Using Gauss Sums to
Distinguish Certain Algebraic Structures 

Speaker: Ryan Johnson, Grace College  
Time: Thursday, October 15 at 4:00 pm  
Place: Vanderwerf 102 
Upcoming colloquium celebrates World Statistics Day 
Title: Introduction to
Statistical Data Mining 

Speaker: Brad Westgate, Alma College  
Time: Tuesday, October 20 at
4:00 pm 

Place: Vanderwerf 102 
Upcoming Colloquia 

The following colloquia are currently on the
schedule
for the
rest of the semester:

Math Club 

The Math Club's first game night will be
Saturday, October 17 starting at 7 pm in Schaap 1118. According
to the official rules of the International Society for Math Club Game
Nights: (1) you must bring yourself to game night, (2) you are
encouraged to bring your friends to game night, (3) fun and interesting
games must be provided by game night organizers, (4) you are allowed to
bring games to share (e.g., a card game, a board game, or a math game),
and (5) people must have fun at game night. For more info on the Hope Math Club's latest and greatest activities, visit our brand new FaceBook page, where you can also suggest future Math Club activities! 
MATH
Challenge 

The 2015 Michigan
Autumn Take Home Challenge (or MATH Challenge) will
take place on the morning (9:30am  12:30pm) of Saturday, November 7
this year. Teams of two or three students take a threehour exam
consisting of ten interesting problems dealing with topics and concepts
found in the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Each team
takes the exam at their home campus under the supervision of a faculty
advisor. 
Math in the News: The abc conjecture proven? 
IN
2012, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University released a
500page proof of the abc conjecture, which proposes a relationship
between whole numbers and has been called the most important unsolved
problem in mathematics. The proofs of many important theorems in
number theory, such as Fermat's Last Theorem, follow immediately from
the conjecture. We reported on this in Off on a Tangent back in 2012, so why is it still in the news? Well apparently the proof isn't as easy as abc. Mathematicians are still working on understanding Mochizuki's work. He apparently invented a new branch of mathematics to complete his work. So even experts in number theory are having a hard time understanding what he is saying. For more information see the 2012 article from Nature about the proof, visit Dr. Mochizuki's page where he lists his papers, or read the recent article in Scientific American that talks about the how the proof has been accepted in the past three years. 

Hey Vsauce! Math on YouTube 
Have you seen the YouTube channel Vsauce? The
videos posted there are hosted by Michael Stevens. He explores a number
of scientific and philosophical topics and every now and then the topic
is mathematical in nature. In an video on Zipf's
Law Stevens explores that the frequency of a word's use is
inversely proportional to its rank. This not only occurs in words in
the English language, but in any language. This reminds the editorial staff at Off on a Tangent of Benford's Law. This law states that the proportion of times the leading digit (d) of a large collection of numbers appears is log(1+1/d). The property of numbers is used to detect fraud since people don't make up numbers that follow Benford's Law. Another mathematical YouTube channel called Numberphile recently posted a video about Benford's Law. Check it out! 

Problem
Solvers of the Fortnight 
Problem
of the Fortnight 
Off
on a Tangent 