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Math Horizons - September 2008

Content Teasers for September 2008

Jeffrey S. Rosenthal

Should you stick with your first choice or swap? The proportionality principle makes this decision clear for variants of the Monty Hall Problem.

The Deal or No Deal Problem
Jason Rosenhouse

The proportionality principle again comes into play as you seek the million dollar suitcase.

Borda Meets Pascal
Marie K. Jameson, Gregory Minton, and Michael E. Orrison

What is Pascal's triangle doing connected to this classic voting procedure?

Sustaining Your Math Club
Moshe Cohen

Ideas for keeping the energy and enthusiasm of your club's mathematical endeavours strong, long after its founders have graduated.

Chance Encounters: Pondering Parrondo’s Paradox
Mark Schilling

Two months after introducing a new game, the Crazy Al Casino is broke and is forced to go out of business. How can this game favor the player even though its component parts favor the casino?

The Birth of the Meter
Randy K. Schwartz

Most units of measure are arbitrary in some sense. The creation of the meter however was deliberate. The French Royal Academy of Sciences  charged a commission of renown scientists (including de Borda, Laplace, Legendre, Lavoisier, and Condorcet) to invent the metric system  dictated by universal principles of nature rather than by human prejudice or historical accident.

What’s in a Name? The Matrix as an Introduction to Mathematics
Kris H. Green

Matrix--sure its a cool name for a movie, but is there any mathematical connection? You might be delightfully surprised.

Book Reviews
Sarah Reardon and Marie Jameson

Students review Chaotic Elections! A Mathematician Looks at Voting by Donal G. Saari and The Presidential Election Game by Stephen J. Brams.

The Professional Master’s Program
Robert Vallin

Professional Master's programs are relatively new to math and science. Graduates receive broad mathematical training accompanied by real world applications and experience; they then apply their analytical skills to a variety of rewarding (and lucrative) professions.

Reverend Bayes Takes the Unexpected Examination
Benjamin Schumacher and Michael Westmoreland

If you know that a surprise is coming, can you really be surprised? Or said another way, just how unlikely does an event have to be for it be a surprise?

Nerd is the Word
Valerio De Angelis, Kyehong Kang, W. Ted Mahavier, Allen Stenger is a volunteer organization that helps thousands of students with mathematics through inquiry-based learning.

How Much is  $5 Betting Coupon Worth?
Marty Ross

In exchange for admission to the Crown Casino, you receive a $5 betting coupon. Like most gamblers, you want the greatest expected return on your coupon. So why is it that you should place the bet with the highest probability of losing?

Problem Section
Andy Liu and Derek Smith