College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Math & Actuarial Science


The MAA Club has invited the mathematics/actuarial science faculty and staff to go bowling on November 7 at 3:00 p.m. The event will be held at Woodland Bowl, 96th and Keystone Avenue. Join in the fun and challenges of knocking the pins down!  Faculty will attempt to outscore the students in this annual rematch!

MAA Scavenger Hunt 2015

Each year, Butler University's Mathematics Association of America (MAA) chapter hosts an MAA Scavenger Hunt on campus for local high school students to attend. This event offers students the chance to utilize mathematical concepts they have learned in the classroom in a fun way. Past participants have enjoyed the hunt, and we look forward to hosting it again this year! The scavenger hunt will be held on February 28, 2015. Registration will be limited to the first twelve teams to register on a first-serve basis.  Each school is allowed to bring up to two teams consisting of three participants.

A tentative schedule of events for the day is as follows:

8:30am- Registration in Jordan Hall, Room 272C
9am- Rules/Groups meet their Butler student guide
9:30 to 12:00pm-MAA Scavenger Hunt
**The event normally concludes between 12-1pm

There is no entry fee for participants.

To register students, please email the following information to the department secretary, Rena Duerksen (

1. Number of teams (3 students per team, 2 teams max)
2. School
3. Faculty contact (name, phone number, email)

Note: If you enter a team, please make sure you are able to make the event as we are limiting the number of teams allowed to participate. If for some reason a conflict arises, please email Rena asap.

Upon registering, we will let you know if you are among the first twelve and provide you with more detailed information closer to the event. If you have any questions regarding this event, please feel free to email Rena at or call her at 317-940-9521. 

M athematic s & Actuarial Science Colloquium Speakers

J. James Woods guest speaker

William Dunhamwilliam dunham
"Your humble Servant, Is. Newton"

Almost fifty years ago, Cambridge University Press published the correspondence of Isaac Newton, a seven-volume, 3000-page collection of letters that provide insight into this great, if difficult, genius. Dunham will share his favorite examples of Newton as correspondent.  From his earliest known letter in 1661 (where he scolded a friend for being drunk), through exchanges with Leibniz, Locke, and others, to documents from his days at the Mint in London, these writings give glimpses of Newton at his best … and his worst.  He will end by discussing Newton's most-quoted line about standing on the shoulders of giants and describe how his search for its place of origin led him, improbably, to a library in Philadelphia.

William Dunham, a historian of mathematics, is retired after 22 years as the Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College.  As a visiting professor at Harvard University, he taught a semester course on the mathematics of Leonhard Euler at Harvard University in both 2008 and 2013, and he also held a visiting appointment at Princeton University in the spring of 2014. He is currently a visit at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as the MAA's George Pólya Lecturer.

Complete list of the  2014/2015 colloquium speakers.

The Department Fall Picnic 2014

The department hosted the annual student/faculty picnic for all mathematics and actuarial science majors at Professor Duane Leatherman's residence in Resco "D" Unit on Thursday, September 11, 4:00-6:00 pm.  

Celebration of the Mind in honor of Martin Gardner's 100th birthday

The celebration of Martin Gardner's 100th birthday (born October 21, 1914) took place on October 21, 2014 in Jordan Hall 238 from 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Dr. Judi Morrel's honors class  presented magic tricks with mathematical foundations, and Professor Jeremiah P. Farrell contributed a new magic trick to this fun event. Gardner's birthday is celebrated world-wide.  Martin Gardner was highly respected for his contributions to the world of mathematics and science through his many Scientific American articles about puzzles, tricks, and other astounding mathematical ideas.  He wrote many books which are still enjoyed today!

Special Colloquium Presentation

Allan Rossman, Ph. D., presented "Choosing the Best: Decision Making under Uncertainty" on Friday, October 31, 2014, 2:00-3:00 pm, Jordan Hall 238.

Dr. Rossman presented a classic probability problem known as the "Secretary Problem" which illustrates the utility of probabilistic thinking when making decisions under uncertainty.  The problem is easy to state: Your task is to hire a new employee for your company.  You know how many candidates have applied, you interview them one-at-a-time in random order, and you can rank the candidates after you have interviewed them.  But the rules are that you have to decide immediately whether or not to hire a candidate (i.e., you can't invite one back later), and you must hire THE best candidate (i.e., if you hire the second best one, you have failed).  We will devise a clever strategy for choosing the best candidate and will explore how (surprisingly) well the strategy performs with both small and large numbers of candidates.  We will also consider a gambling application and ponder whether the optimal strategy is relevant to finding your soul-mate in life!

Allan Rossman is Professor and Chair of the Statistics Department at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo and previously taught in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dickinson College.  His Ph.D. is in Statistics, from Carnegie Mellon University.  He is co-author with Beth Chance of the Workshop Statistics series and Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods, both of which adopt an active learning approach to learning introductory statistics.  He was Program Chair for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings and President of the International Association for Statistical Education from 2007-2009.  He served as Chief Reader for the Advanced Placement program in Statistics from 2009 - 2014.  He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and was one of the recipients of the Mathematical Association of America's Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2010.

Research Conference in Korea, July 2014 - Dr. Mummert

Dr. Mummert attended a conference in Gyeongju, Korea from Aug 23-26, which brought together over 60 research mathematicians (ranging from graduate students to acknowledged experts in the field) to discuss topics in holomorphic dynamics in one and several complex variables. Dr. Mummert presented a poster entitled "A Path Lifting Algorithm for the Julia Set of a Complex Henon Map."  For more information about the conference check out the website at

Korea trip summer 2014 signs                  Korea trip summer 2014            korea trip 3


The department also welcomes Brandon Neese, Ph.D., a Visiting Assistant Professor. for the fall semester 2014.  Dr. Neese earned his M.A. from the University of Southern California and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.