|OFF ON A TANGENT|
|A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter from the Hope
College Department of Mathematics
|March 10, 2004||Vol. 2, No. 11
|Hope seeks a threepeat in the Lower Michigan Mathematics Competition|
|It is time again to defend
Hope's first place title in the Lower
Michigan Mathematics Competition (LMMC) and keep the Klein bottle
trophy (shown to the left) here at Hope. Teams from Hope have won this
competition for the
last two years. Last year's winning team consisted of Daniela
Banu, Stefan Coltisor and Caleb Gleason.
This year's competition will be held on Saturday, April 3,
Kalamazoo College. Undergraduate students from colleges and
universities from around the state of Michigan will gather to challenge
themselves on some interesting mathematics problems. The students will
compete in teams of up to three without the use of
calculators, computers, or books. Transportation to Kalamazoo
will be provided. If you are interested (and plan to go) sign up with
Prof. Cinzori by Wednesday, March 24.
The exam will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will follow and a solution session will be held from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.
Treat Yourself to a Slice of Pi Day!
|What do movie star Billy
Crystal, baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett and theoretical physicist
Albert Einstein have in common? They were all born on Pi Day,
March 14 (get it?) -- the transcendental date mathematicians prefer to
other dates by a ratio of about 22:7. Here are a number of
irrational suggestions -- or perhaps just an irrational number of
suggestions -- for celebrating Pi Day: (1) Send 3.14 Pi Day
e-cards to all your friends by visiting http://www.123greetings.com/events/pi_day/
-- or (2) Gather your friends in a circle and sing some of the Pi Day
songs at http://www.winternet.com/~mchristi/piday.html
-- or (3.14159...) Just have a sector of your favorite fruit- or
custard-filled pastry (http://www.pierecipe.com)!
To read more about Einstein see http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Einstein.html. To find out more about Pi see http://www.verbose.net/Pi.html. Editor's Note: Billy Crystal toured with an improv group called "3's Company," and Kirby Puckett batted .314 in his final season (1995) with the Minnesota Twins. Einstein, of course, knew a bit about Pi, too.
Famous Curves: Trifolium
|When an arachnologist hears the word trifolium, he or she probably thinks it is a species name for a certain spider. When a botanist hears the word trifolium the genus name for clover probably comes to mind. When a mathematician hears the word trifolium, he or she will think it is a curve. We thought since St. Patrick's Day was right around the corner, we could celebrate that by taking a look at the mathematicians version of a trifolium. The equation for this curve in polar coordinates is An enhanced version of the graph of a trifolium is shown at the right. For more information about the trifolium visit http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Curves/Trifolium.html.|
Mathography: Daniel Bernoulli (February 8, 1700 - March 17, 1782)
Daniel Bernoulli is our mathematician of the fortnight this issue.
Son of Johann and nephew of Jacob (the Bernoulli brothers who brought
you the catenary highlighted in the last issue), Daniel was an
accomplished mathematician in his own right, winning the Grand Prize of
the Paris Academy ten times. Daniel Bernoulli died on St. Patrick's Day
in 1782, 1321 years after the death of St. Patrick himself in the year
461 (see http://wilstar.com/holidays/patrick.htm
for more on the patron saint of Ireland). To read more about Daniel
Bernoulli see http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Bernoulli_Daniel.html.