|Off on a Tangent
|A Fortnightly Electronic
Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics
|October 9, 2015||Vol. 14, No. 3
|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
|Place: Vanderwerf 102
The following colloquia are currently on the schedule for the rest of the semester:
||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!
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 three-hour 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
|Math in the News: The abc conjecture proven?|
2012, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University released a
500-page 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
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!
Solvers of the Fortnight
|In our last problem of the
fortnight we told you about three students, Ann, Bob, and Cal,
that competed in a series of tests. For coming in first on any
test, one is awarded x
points; for placing second, y
points; and for third place, z points.
Here x, y, and z are natural numbers with x > y > z. There were no ties on any
of the tests. Altogether, Ann accumulated 20 points; Bob scored
10 points, and Cal received 9 points. Ann came in second on the
Algebra test. Who finished second on the Geometry test?
Congratulations to Colton Bates, Dalton Blood, TaeHyun Choi, Brooke Draggoo, Richard Edwards, Katie Finn, Russel H, Ben Hahn, Matthew Harkema, Sherah Head, Emily Kain, Cassidy Kessel, Alex Klunder, Adam Krahn, Anna Krueger, Samantha Mattingly, Maura McAfee, Aaron Micah, Anne O'Donnell, Tiffany Oken, Elizabeth Orians, Sarah Sheridan, Anna Snyder, Julia Toren, Tyler Valicevic, Kathryn Trentadue, and Landon Brower -- all of whom
correctly solved the Problem of the Fortnight in the last issue of America's leading fortnighly mathematics department electronic newsletter.
of the Fortnight
||Eleven Pullers (who refused to
divulge whether they were Odd or Even Year) are developing a secret
sticky substance to put on their hands for next year's Pull that would
both give them better grip on the rope and prevent rope burn. To
keep their invention secure, they put it in a safe with a number of
different locks. Each Puller is given the same number of keys,
although not necessarily the same keys. The eleven Pullers want
to be able to open the safe if and only if a majority of them are
present. What is the minimum number of locks they need to put on
the safe, and how many keys does each Puller have?
Attach your solution to a string, and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Mark Pearson's office (VWF 212) by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21. As always, be sure to include your name as well as the name(s) of your math professor(s) -- e.g. Amber Leaf, Professor Sue Mack -- on your solution.
on a Tangent