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

Our New Faculty Members

The department welcomes Philip Mummert, Ph.D, as our new tenure-track professor.  Dr. Mummert earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University and previously taught at Taylor University. His specialty is discrete dynamics.

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.

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

Please join the department for the celebration of Martin Gardner's 100th birthday (born October 21, 1914). The event will take place on  October 21, 2014 in Jordan Hall 238 from 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Dr. Judi Morrel's honor class will present magic tricks, and Professor Jeremiah P. Farrell will contribute to this fun event which is a world-wide celebration.  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!

Please join us for a birthday cake and fun!

Special Colloquium Presentation

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

Dr. Rossman will present 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.

 Please join the department as we welcome Dr. Rossman to Butler for this amazing talk!  Refreshments will be served.

M athematic s & Actuarial Science Colloquium Speakers

Tiffany Kolba, Ph.D., Valparaiso University

Friday, October 24th, 2014
3:00 p.m.
Jordan Hall 236

Tiffany received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Duke University in 2012.  Her research interests are in probability theory and more specifically, stochastic differential equations  Tiffany is currently an Assistant Professor of mathematics at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

Jim Kunce, Senior Vice President & Chief Actuary for Medical Protective 
Friday, November 7, 2014

Jim Kunce F 14

Assessing risk in today's dynamic healthcare environment is a tall order. Ensuring MedPro charges each insured a fair premium based on their own risk profile is paramount to our mission. Mr. Kunce, in collaborates with the experienced MedPro Actuarial team which continually strives to apply and refine the latest statistical and predictive modeling techniques to create an accurate and fair price for each unique practice or facility.

Mr. Kunce, a 1994 University of Kansas graduate in Physics and Astronomy, is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuary Society and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He is responsible for all aspects of Medical Protective's actuarial functions including pricing, ratemaking, reserving and system implementation.

James J. Woods guest speaker

William Dunham
"From the Mendelian Gene to the Dynamic Genome"
Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 - 7:30 p.m., Reilly Room

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.

Previous 2014/2015 Colloquium Speakers

  Dr. Bridget Tenner, De Paul Universit y

bridget tenner

"Non-Messing-Up: A Surprising Sorting Result"
Friday, September 12, 2014, 3:00 pm in JH 236, 

Dr. Tenner discussed a sorting phenomenon for data in a rectangular array, called the "non-messing-up" property.  Consider a collection of distinct numbers arranged in a rectangle.  The non-messing-up property says that if you put the numbers of each row into increasing order, and then do the same thing to the (possibly new) numbers of each column, then the "possibly new" numbers in each row will still be in increasing order.  In other words, the "increasing order" feature of the rows doesn't get messed up, even though the values in the rows may change!  We will explore what it means to generalize this property and will look at some of these generalizations in detail. 


Jeremy Walthall, Butler University, CLAS Internship and Career Advisor

"Show the World You are Awesome: Market Your Math & Actuarial Science Skills"
Friday, September 9, 2014, Jordan Hall Room 236, 3:00 p.m. 

Jeremy Walthall gave tips on presenting yourself well in job interviews, getting great internships,
and formulating a CV and cover letter that will make you stand out!  Students learned how to look like a Mathematics and Actuarial Science ROCK STAR! This invaluable colloquium was suited for all students from freshmen to seniors.  It's never too early to start planning for your future!  

Complete list of the  2014/2015 colloquium speakers.


MAA Scavenger Hunt 2014

The MAA student chapter hosted its annual scavenger hunt for high school teams on March 1, 2014. The event concludes at approximately 12:30-1:00 p.m. after prizes are awarded. Lunch was included for all attendees.

The event was an exciting morning with high school teams competing for prizes as they hunted for the solutions to mathematical problems. Each team was led by a Butler student member of the Mathematical Association of America club.  For more information concerning the 2015 MAA Scavenger Hunt, please contact Rena Duerksen ( or Professor Kathie Freed(mailto:kfreed@butler.ed

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.