Digital Surveillance & Democracy

Apropos of our previous post, there’s a talk on campus tomorrow which should be very interesting:

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.02.59 PMYou can also see a documentary about Mr. Binney here:


Show and Tell


Wednesday, October 30th at 5pm in PHSC 1105

will be Show and Tell in the Math Club.

Come and find out about interesting classes, awesome summer REUs and cool summer jobs that some of the Math Club fellows had. Start planning for an exciting spring semester and a fun  and productive summer now!

And, of course, Free Pizza! (not that you care about such delicious things)


Show and Tell at Buttersafe.

Happy Belated Birthday!

We are a bit late to the party, but this week was the birthday of one of the most famous Oklahomans to ever live, Martin Gardner.  He was born in Tulsa on October 21, 1914 and spent the last years of his life right here in Norman!  Sadly he passed away in 2010.

But gladly people are carrying on the Gardner traditions of math, magic, and a healthy sense of curiosity and skepticism in all things.  Every year around his birthday there are Gatherings 4 Gardner all around the world.

In the Internet World, you can find a series of posts about Gardnerian topics on the NY Times Numberplay blog.  For example, they share Mr. Gardner’s favorite puzzle of all times, “The Monkey and the Coconuts”:

Five men and a monkey were shipwrecked on a desert island, and they spent the first day gathering coconuts for food. Piled them all up together and then went to sleep for the night.

But when they were all asleep one man woke up, and he thought there might be a row about dividing the coconuts in the morning, so he decided to take his share. So he divided the coconuts into five piles. He had one coconut left over, and gave it to the monkey, and he hid his pile and put the rest back together.

By and by, the next man woke up and did the same thing. And he had one left over and he gave it to the monkey. And all five of the men did the same thing, one after the other; each one taking the fifth of the coconuts in the pile when he woke up, and each one having one left over for the monkey. And in the morning they divided what coconuts were left, and they came out in five equal shares. Of course each one must have known that there were coconuts missing; but each one was guilty as the others, so they didn’t say anything. How many coconuts were there in the beginning?

Mathematician and Friend of Gardner, Colm Mulcahy, has an excellent essay about Martin Gardner on his Huffington Post blog.  Dr. Mulcahy is famous for his card tricks — especially ones based on math!  Here’s one by Dr. Mulcahy called “The Ice Cream Trick” for you to puzzle over:

And last, but not least, Mr. Gardner’s autobiography was just released last month. We look forward to reading it!

Raytheon Career Opportunities

The assiduous Adrienne Jablonski asked us to let you know that Raytheon is currently hiring:

Raytheon Career Opportunities:
Configuration Management
Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental, General
Healthcare Services
Human Resources
Industrial & Labor Relations
Intelligence Analyst
Public Relations
Publications & Graphic Arts
Training & Development

Environmental Health & Environmental, General

34 different positions for interns and grads popped up just waiting for students to apply to them!  There are even openings in some of our Leadership Development Programs (LDPs).  More positions will become available as the year progresses.

Heck, you may even get to work on the new Raytheon Star-monic TV!


A Passel of Putnam Problem People!

This year as every year Drs. Albert and Ozaydin are organizing the OU Putnam Problem Solving Group. It will meet on

Mondays at 5 pm in PHSC 1025 from now until the Putnam Exam.

The Putnam Exam is a famous exam which is held on the first Saturday in December around the country (and, indeed!, around the world).  You can win great prizes (like a scholarship to Harvard!).  And we’ll bet that if you get the top score on the Putnam Exam, the OU Math Department will give you full scholarship to OU!

It was founded in 1927 by Elizabeth Lowell Putnam in honor of her husband William Lowell Putnam.

William Lowell Putnam and professional Teddy Rosevelt impersonator

William Lowell Putnam and professional Teddy Roosevelt impersonator.

We should mention that the exam has 12 questions, each graded out of 10 points, for a total of 120 points.  If you score any points at all, it puts you in the top half of the exam takers! So probably you shouldn’t depend on your Putnam prize money for next year’s tuition :-).


Whether or not you want to take the exam itself, stop by the OU Putnam Problem solving group to have fun and work on interesting problems like this one:

Players 1, 2, 3, …, n are seated around a table and each has a single penny. Player 1 passes a penny to Player 2, who then passes two pennies to Player 3. Player 3 then passes one penny to Player 4, who passes two pennies to Player 5, and so on, players alternately passing one penny or two to the next player who still has some pennies. A player who runs out of pennies drops out of the game and leaves the table. Find an infinite set of numbers n for which some player ends up with all n pennies.

— From the Putnam Exam webpage

Game On!

Thinking about Grad School?


Wednesday, October 16th at 5 pm in PHSC 1105

there is a Math Club meeting all about grad school in math related subjects.

Get all your questions answered:  How to decide where to go, what to study, etc.?  How do you find an advisor and choose a thesis topic?  What kind of jobs can you get after grad school?  Is it true they pay you to go to grad school in math?!?

At the Math Club meeting will be Dr Thompson, OU Biostatistics & Epidemiology, and Dr Schmidt, OU Mathematics.  They will talk about admissions to their graduate programs, the course of studies, and job opportunities upon graduation. Graduate student representatives will be present to answer questions.

Plus, of course, Free Pizza!