Off on a Tangent 
A Fortnightly Electronic
Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics 
April 15, 2016  Vol. 14, No. 13

http://www.math.hope.edu/newsletter.html 
A history lesson in proportion estimation will be the topic of next week's colloquium 
Title:
Of Poohsticks, Pvalues, and PlusFour: A Perambulation through a
Century of Inference for Proportions 

Speaker: Eric Nordmoe, Kalamazoo College  
Time: Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00pm  
Place: VanderWerf 102 
Student's travel to mathematics conference 

Saturday, April
2nd,
Rachel Alfond, Daria Soloman, Anna Dlugosz, Russel Houpt, Kade Steffes,
Sarah Petersen, Kristen Pogats, Megan Klintworth, Hannah Howard,
Professor Stephanie Edwards, and Professor Paul Pearson traveled to
Hillsdale College for the 2016 Annual Michigan Section of the MAA
and Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.

Students excel in actuary program 

As
we are approaching the end of the academic year, we want to commend
some of our students pursuing a careers in actuarial science. The
professional growth in this career depends on passing national
actuarial exams that cover such topics as probability theory, financial
mathematics, stock markets and many more areas related to mathematics
and economics. Hope College Department of Mathematics offers courses
and independent study to prepare students for some of these exams. This year we want to mention names of Paul Nelson, who already passed three actuarial exams and was offered a position in an actuarial company in Illinois, Tyler Valicevic who passed two exams and is planning on working in an actuarial company in Michigan after graduation and recent Hope graduate Tae Hyun Choi who passed two exams and was accepted to the graduate school in Statistics at the University of Waterloo. Congratulations and best wishes! For more information on the actuary profession visit beanactuary.org. 
Math in the News: Andrew Wiles to receive Abel Prize 

Oxford
professor Andrew Wiles was recently
awarded the Abel
Prize “for his stunning proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem by way of
the modularity conjecture for semistable elliptic curves, opening a new
era in number theory.” The prize also comes with a check for 6,000,000
Norwegian Kroner or a bit over $700,000. Fermat's Last Theorem states that there are no whole number solutions to the equation x^{n} + y^{n} = z^{n} when n is greater than 2. Pierre de Fermat, a 17th century mathematician, claimed to have a proof but none was ever found. According to a recent article in The Telegraph, Wiles said, "Fermat's equation was my passion from an early age, and solving it gave me an overwhelming sense of fulfillment." Wiles worked for years on the proof for years by himself while he was at the Princeton University and completed his proof in 1994. The Abel Prize is sometimes called the "The Mathematicians' Nobel" and is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Abel. 
Problem
Solvers of the Fortnight 
In
our last POTF we gave the following problem:
The line y = mx, where m > 0, forms an acute angle with the xaxis, and the point P = (a,b) lies in the interior of the angle. A line through P intersects both the xaxis and the line y = mx to form a triangle. What
is the minimum area of this triangle? Express your answer in
terms of m, a, and b.
Congratulations to Zac Geschwendt and Jesse Ickes, both of whom correctly solved the last Problem of the Fortnight. 
Problem
of the Fortnight 

A
light bulb is located at the top of the pole in the figure. How
tall must the pole be if the point (1.25, 0) is right on the edge of
the illuminated region? (And yes, that is a blue semicircle of
radius 1 centered at the origin in the drawing.)
Write your solution on a semicircular piece of paper and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Mark Pearson's office (VWF 212) by 3:00 on Friday, April 22. As always, be sure to include your name and the name(s) of your math professor(s)  e.g. Justin Thyme, Professor Ty M. Lee  on your solution. Good luck and have fun! 
Off
on a Tangent 