Photos around Campus

Dave Whyte’s Mathematical GIFs

One example:





More here:

The Best Jobs of 2014

Check out CareerCast’s list of top jobs.  Here are some top jobs in which the Math/CS department at HSC can help prepare you:

1. Mathematician

2. Tenured University Professor

3. Statistician

4. Actuary

7. Software Engineer

8. Computer Systems Analyst

New Pi Mu Epsilon Members

Congratulations to the newest members of Pi Mu Epsilon at Hampden-Sydney College!  Pi Mu Epsilon is a national mathematics honor society whose purpose is the promotion and recognition of scholarly activity among students.

From left to right:

From left to right:Linh Nguyen, J.D. Chaudhry, Robinson Sagar, Zack King, Tyler Williams, Branch Vincent, Sasha Obradovic, and Carson Maki.  Not pictured: Nate Shepherd

Problem of the Month Winner


Dr. Brian Lins (left) and Linh Nguyen (right)

Solutions to this year’s Problem of the Month were presented Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  Student presenters included Casey Grimes, Shawn Stum, Michael Salita, and Francis Polakiewicz.  Professor Robb Koether also presented a solution.  Student Linh Nguyen received a cash prize for correctly solving the most number of problems for the year.  Dr. Brian Lins presented him with this prize.

Congratulations to the new members of Pi Mu Epsilon!

Left to right: Dr. Marcus Pendergrass, Jay Iqbal, Michael Salita, Braxton Elliott, Franklin Bowers, Watt Mountcastle

Left to right: Dr. Tom Valente, Eric Gorsline, Chris Stockinger, Dr. Brian Lins

Left to right: Francis Polakiewicz, Dr. Robb Koether, Dr. Matt Willis, Grish Makarenko, Erik Schafer, Shawn Stum, JJ Strosnider

  Pi Mu Epsilon is the National Mathematics Honorary Society of the United States and its purpose is to encourage scholarly mathematical activities.  We congratulate the new members and current members.  You can check out the organization at

Want a good job? Do the Math/CS!

The very idea of a “top 5″ list is kind of mathematical, isn’t it?  Check out this list of the top 5 jobs from


Four out of the five are Math/CS jobs: mathematician, actuary, statistician, and computer system analyst.

Do the Math/CS!

Pascals Triangle in Five Colors

Here is a color image of Pascal’s triangle, with each number colored based on its value modulo 5. You can see how the pattern is self-similar like the Sierpinski gasket.

A Neat Multiplication Trick

The following video of “Japanese” multiplication has been floating around the internet recently.


I thought it might make an interesting post to explain how it works. Every part of this trick matches exactly what you were taught to do in elementary school. Check out the following example:

Why it works

The blue lines in the image above correspond to the digits of 123 and the red lines correspond to the digits of 321. The place where any two lines intersect is exactly where you were taught to put the product of the two corresponding digits. Of course, the product of two digits is the number of times their corresponding lines intersect.

If you think about it, it is easy to see that this method works for any numbers, but you wouldn’t want to multiply 987 × 789 this way! It is also not hard to see that the lines method will almost always be slower, although it might be easier for students to remember.

The Tau Manifesto

Here is a delightful article on why

\displaystyle \tau = \frac{C}{r} = \frac{\text{Circumference}}{\text{radius}} = 6.28318...

would make a better fundamental constant than

\displaystyle \pi = \frac{C}{d} = \frac{\text{Circumference}}{\text{diameter}} = 3.14159....

I’ve wondered about this before, and I have to say, I agree with the author!

Hampden-Sydney Teams Excel in COMAP Competition

Hampden-Sydney’s first foray into the prestigious COMAP Mathematical Competition in Modeling was an unqualified success.  All three teams did an outstanding job in the contest, and will receive certificates from COMAP recognizing their work.  Team Beta did especially well, with team members Cameron Auker, Nathan Parr, and Doug Vermilya earning a coveted “Meritorious” award for their paper “A Simple Approach to Geographical Modeling: The Circle-Decay Overlay Model“.  The Meritorious designation places Team Beta in the top 20% of all 2,254 teams that participated in the contest, alongside teams from schools such as Harvard, Duke, MIT, Cornell, and the U.S. Military Academy.  As a result of this designation, Team Beta has been invited to give a talk on their solution at the next meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) next weekend at Virginia State University.  In addition, H-SC’s Team Alpha – Matthew Carrington, Miguel Mogollon, and Tian Shihao – earned an “Honorable Mention” for their paper “Give Me a Bat, and I’ll Give You the Sweet Spot“, putting them in the top 44% of all teams.

These are truly outstanding results.  With little more than a month of preparation, our teams more than held their own against schools like Davidson College, Colby College, Shippensburg University, not to mention some big-name schools like MIT and UC Berkeley.  All the men who participated deserve credit for laying the foundation for what I hope will be a long and successful tradition at H-SC!  If you see them, be sure to congratulate them on a job well-done!