|OFF ON A TANGENT|
|A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter from the Hope
College Department of Mathematics
|January 28, 2004||Vol. 2, No. 8
|Approximately 25 students and
faculty enjoyed a couple games of bowling and a few slices of pizza
last Saturday. While the bowling revealed a need for some
instruction, the students devoured the pizza like old pros.
Scores and style ranged wildly at the bowling alley. While most
kept to traditional methods, some were found bowling between their legs
and one even thought that running and diving head first might do the
trick. Keeping with the more traditional style, Brandon Hazen
earned the honor of being the king pin with a score of 155. He is
shown here holding up his "fabulous prize." See more pictures of
this event at http://www.math.hope.edu/swanson/bowling.htm.
The next mathematics colloquium is scheduled for
Thursday, February 12. Professor Mary DeYoung will teach us how
pop-up books are made. Look for more details about this and other
colloquiums in the next newsletter.
Summer opportunities for research should be investigated soon
As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Department of Mathematics has an NSF-REU Summer Research Grant. This coming summer, professors Aaron Cinzori and Tim Pennings will be the research mentors. Although students apply from all over the country, Hope students are given special consideration. So if you are interested, see the web site at http://www.math.hope.edu/reu.html for more details. If you are interested in doing summer research, but not at Hope, check out the other REU sites around the country. A list of these can be found at http://www.maa.org/students/reustuff/pages/REU.html. The deadline for applying to the Hope REU is February 29. Other sites have deadlines around this time as well. Since this date is fast approaching, apply soon if your are interested.
The next mathematics colloquium will take a look at pop-up books
Some of the outstanding projects from the Introductory Statistics
courses (Math 210) were presented in our Second Annual Statistics
Showcase on January 23. Jeff Seymour, Robert Knecht, and Sarah
the times it took people to go through the drive-thru at Wendy's and
Hot 'N Now. They found the Wendy's was significantly faster than
Hot 'N Now. Anne Hayden and Andrew Essink compared the time it
took males and females to use the rest room at a local mall. They
found that while women averaged significantly longer than males, a man
did have the longest time of about 4.5 minutes. Anna Van Wyck did
a comparison of the accuracy of the clocks in classrooms around
campus. She found that the clocks, on average, are a bit
off. In fact, the difference in time between the slowest and the
fastest was over eight minutes! Katie Nelson looked at the correlation
between the amount of time students study and their GPA. Those
results are being kept classified.
Elvis continues to make news
Apparently everybody is still interested Elvis -- that dog that
calculus. In addition to numerous newspaper articles and Web
sites, Elvis has recently been featured in such places as the canine
journals AKC Family Dog, Loving Dog, and the Corgi Cryer as will as children's
magazines such as MUSE, Current Science, and Scholastic Math. Professor
Pennings recently gave his talk, "Do Dogs know Calculus?"
during Winter Happening (see http://hope.edu/pr/announcements/ten.html)
and to the board of trustees. He, along with Professors Bekmetjev
and Swanson, recently submitted an article, "A Statistical Answer to
'Do Dogs Know Calculus?'" to STATS:
The Magazine for Students of Statistics (see http://www.amstat.org/publications/stats/index.html
for past issues of this journal.)
Mathematical Contest in Modeling to take place next month
As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Mathematical Contest in Modeling will take place from 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 5 through 8 p.m. on Monday, February 9. If you are interested in getting more information or competing, please contact Prof. Cinzori (email@example.com). The deadline for applications is Wednesday, February 4. More information is available at http://www.comap.com/undergraduate/contests/mcm/. In addition to information about this contest, you can link to previous contest questions at this site.
Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition
Professor Mike Catalano ventured across the state to Delta College in University Center on January 17 to help grade part II questions from the Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition (MMPC). Part I of the MMPC is open to all students in Michigan high schools. This exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions involving topics from high school mathematics. From approximately 14,000 participants in Part I, the top 1,000 students are invited to take Part II of the MMPC. Part II requires students to work on five challenging problems and write their solutions providing full justification and proof of their claims. The students with the top 100 scores in the two parts of the competition are honored at an awards program where scholarships are given. Information about the competition and copies of old tests can be found at http://www.delta.edu/math/mmpc/.
The recent mathematics colloquium inspired us to pose the following
puzzle of actuarial proportions as the Problem of the Fortnight.
At a recent dinner, a group of seven actuaries sitting around a
table were, oddly enough, discussing actuary compensation issues.
Although reticent to divulge their own individual annual compensations,
they agreed that it would be useful if they knew the average salary of
the group. As fate would have it, they had no paper or writing utensils
of any sort to assist them, nor was anyone else available -- yet
eventually they derived a strategy that would enable themselves to know
the group average, without anybody knowing the salaries of anybody
else. How'd they do it?
Many thanks to Leticia Grandia for providing us with this gem! Write your solution on letterhead from an actuarial firm and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Dr. Pearson's office (VWF 212) by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6.
Check out http://www.mathwright.com/ for an interesting, fun and downright "mathtacular" time. (Thanks to K.C. Cohen for that long overdue coinage, a combination of math and spectacular.) The new Mathwright Library and Cafe features interactive Java applets, among other interesting mathematical miscellany. If you're interested in more of what Mathwright has to offer, you can join for a small fee . . . but there's lots of good stuff you can access for free!