Off on a Tangent A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter from the Hope College Department of Mathematics
 March 31, 2017 Vol. 15, No. 11 http://www.math.hope.edu/newsletter.html

 Next week's colloquia will explore whether or not dogs still know calculus

 Title: Do Dogs Know Calculus? Speaker: Tim Pennings, Davenport University Time: 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Place:  VanderWerf 102

A standard calculus problem is to find the quickest path from a point on shore to a point in the lake, given that running speed is greater than swimming speed. Elvis, my Welsh Corgi, never had a calculus course. But when we played "fetch" at Lake Michigan, he appeared to choose paths close to the calculus answer. In this talk we form a mathematical model and reveal what was found when we experimentally tested this ability.

 Title: Do Dogs Know Calculus? Bifurcations at the Beach Speaker: Tim Pennings, Davenport University Time: 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Place:  VanderWerf 102

We will show  that dogs - at least my dog, Elvis - knew calculus. That is, Elvis could find the optimal - fastest - route to a ball thrown into the water some distance down the beach. But what happened when Elvis was positioned in the water and retrieved a ball that was also in the water? When should he swim straight to the ball, and when should he swim in to the shore, run along the shore, and then swim back out to the ball? What is the bifurcation point for the change in optimal strategy and did Elvis find it? The answers will reveal that Elvis was the King of Calculus and more than just a hound dog.

 Upcoming Colloquia

 We have the following additional math colloquium on the schedule for this semester. Thur, Apr, 20 at 4:00 PM in VWF 102: Dr. Lauren Keough - GVSU

 Pi Mu Epsilon induction ceremony held recently

 Ten students and professors were recently inducted into the Michigan Delta chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon.  Founded on in 1914 at Syracuse University, Pi Mu Epsilon currently has over 350 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.  Hope College has had a chapter since 1974, the fourth in Michigan. The purpose of the society is to promote scholarly activity in mathematics among the students in academic institutions.  Students were invited to join based on their GPA in their mathematics courses as well as their overall GPA.  The induction ceremony was held on March 14 at 6:28 p.m. (or pi day at two pi o'clock).  After the short ceremony everyone enjoyed our tradition of eating pie. The inductees this year were:  Charles Cusack, Ethan Heyboer, Vicki-Lynn Holmes, Russell Houpt, Noah Kochanski, Daniel Kung, Autumn Roth, Jaquelyn Schwark, Ashley Stegenga and Nathan Vance.

 Math Department game night enjoyed by students and professors

 Problem Solvers of the Fortnight