OFF ON A TANGENT A Fortnightly Electronic Newsletter by the Hope College Department of Mathematics
 November 20, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 6

Professor Tanis will show how Maple can help you become an artist

 If you thought the computer algebra system Maple could just help you solve a differential equation or evaluate an integral, you are wrong.  Professor Emeritus Elliot Tanis will show us, in tomorrow's colloquium, that Maple can be used to make art.  On  Thursday, November 21, at 4:00 p.m. in VWF 104, Professor Tanis will present  "Using Maple to Construct Tessellations Inspired by M.C. Escher."  He will be using examples from Chinese lattice designs, the Alhambra, Hungarian needlework, and M.C. Escher's tessellations.  The way in which tessellations are classified will be illustrated and examples of some of the 17 plane symmetry groups will be shown. Wings by Elliot Tanis

Surfing the Web

Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics, or MathWorld, (found at http://mathworld.wolfram.com/) is self described as the web's most complete mathematical resource.  MathWorld is a comprehensive mathematics encyclopedia and is indeed a very impressive site.  The encyclopedia is organized both by subject and alphabetically.  Particularly interesting are the topics under recreational mathematics.  Under this subject heading, you can find games, illusions, magic squares, puzzles, and more.  For example, the following classic spider and fly puzzle is given at that site.

In a rectangular room with dimensions 30' x 12' x 12', a spider is located in the middle of one 12' x 12' wall one foot away from the ceiling. A fly is in the middle of the opposite wall one foot away from the floor. If the fly remains stationary, what is the shortest total distance the spider must crawl along the walls, ceiling, and floor in order to capture the fly?

Mathematics Department shirt sale deadline extended