Off on a Tangent 17.9

Next Week’s Colloquium will focus on Actuarial Science

  • Title: Actuarial Science—Overview, career pathways, and the Society of Actuaries’ Probability Exam
  • Speaker: Dr. Yew Meng Koh and students
  • When/Where: Thursday, February 21 at 11:00 am in VWF 104

Abstract: Actuarial Science is an interesting and practical field, with rewarding career outcomes. The American Society of Actuaries offers a sequence of exams, the passing of which allows certification in this field. One of these exams is the Probability Exam (P Exam), for which Hope has a MATH361/363 course sequence which helps interested students in their preparation. In this talk, a brief overview of Actuarial Science and its possible career pathways will be presented. We will then focus on the P Exam by discussing its requirements and solving three past year problems from this exam (which do not require prior knowledge of probability). We will end with comments and encouragement from some Math department seniors who passed the P Exam in its most recent Jan 2019 offering.


The following colloquia are currently scheduled for this semester. More should be added as the semester goes on.

  • Feb 21 at 11:00 am, Yew Meng Koh and students, Hope College
  • April 4 at 4:00 pm, Yew Meng Koh, Tyler Gast and John McMorris

Math in the News: Bees know arithmetic

In the biggest news to hit the math world since we learned that dogs know calculus, researchers in Australia recently discovered that bees know how to add and subtract. They were trained in arithmetic by learning that blue figures meant to add and yellow figures meant to subtract. They were then tested on their arithmetic knowledge by having to make decisions as to which direction to go when walking through a maze based on these color-coded addition or subtraction problems. And the bees in the study could do it, at least better than if they just randomly guessed. You can read a short article about this in Popular Science or the full paper in Science Advances.

Problem Solvers of the Fortnight

Congratulations to Anna Carlson, Jonathan Chaffer, Adam Czeranko, Emily Dee, Holly Denouden, Christian Forester, Andrew Gilpin, Ruth Holloway, Elizabeth Inthisane, Yiwei Jiang, Fiona Johnson, Jackson Krebsbach, Abigail LaDuke, Grant Lancaster, Julia Loula, Rebekah Ludema, Cole Manilla, John McMorris, Matthew Nguyen, Eleni Persinger, Morgan Platz, Eleda Plouch, Andrew Ragains, Forest Rulison, Emma Schaefer, Bethany VanHouten, Fangtao Wang, Jonathan Washburn, Anna Wormmeester, and Samantha Yacullo — all of whom correctly solved the Problem of the Fortnight in the last issue of America’s premiere mathematics department fortnightly news blog.

Problem of the Fortnight

If you throw a dart at a dartboard in the shape of a regular hexagon of side length 2 feet, what is the probability that your dart lands within 1 foot of any of the six corners of the hexagon.
Write your solution — not just the answer — on a piece of paper in the shape of a regular hexagon, and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Mark Pearson’s office, room 212 in The Werf, by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, February 22.  As always, be sure to include your name and the name(s) of your math professor(s) — e.g. Chuck N. Darts, Professor Corky Board — on your solution.  Good luck and have fun!

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