MAA recalculates, looks forward

By Glenn Battishill

Picture this: You have a thousand lockers; suppose the first student goes along the row and opens every locker. The second student then goes along and shuts every other locker, beginning with locker number two. The third student changes the state of every third locker beginning with locker number three. (If the locker is open the student shuts it, and if the locker is closed the student opens it.)

This continues up to the number 1,000. How many lockers remain open?

This was the puzzle presented to the Math Association of America (MAA) club at the start of their most recent meeting.

The MAA has been a club for years but has recently changed hands in terms of officers and advisers.

Sophomore club president Marissa Abram wanted to try new things with the club this year.

“This year we really changed a lot,” Abram said. “Last year was the same thing over and over so when we got new officers and advisers, we did lots of new things. We tried to make the club more active by going on a field trip, redoing the math board and getting new t-shirts.”

Abram said that the club has recently applied for a budget for the 2011-2012 year.

“Right now if we did anything that required money, we’d have to be supported by Dr. Swain and Dr. Swanson,” Abram said.

Adviser Gordon Swain agreed that a budget would be a need for next year.

Despite budgetary needs, Abram is optimistic about the future of the club.

“[The officers] have been working with the advisors to make sure the club has gotten more exciting,” Abram said.

“We’d like to get more people to come and make it more worthwhile. We’ve also been working hand-in-hand with the computer science club to make things more interesting.”

Dr. Christopher Swanson explained how MAA differs from regular math classes.

“I really love interacting with the students and presenting problems that wouldn’t appear in class,” Swanson said.

Swanson himself has been attending MAA meetings for over a decade since he started at Ashland University.

At the start of each meeting, one of the advisers typically presents a problem, puzzle or other math-related items.

“I once presented a card trick at MAA that requires certain things to be interesting and it didn’t quite work,” Swain said. “I calculated the probability of doing the card trick and ended up publishing a paper on it.”

Swain served as adviser for MAA during

the ‘90s and is excited for the future of the club.

“I think the club is in pretty good shape,” Swain said, adding that he believes it is the best in years. “It really depends on students. I think it’s great that our officers are mostly sophomores because it will give the club a sense of continuity in future years.”

The club may be small with just over a dozen members but Abram hopes the club will gain momentum and become more well-known around campus.

“We want to show people that math isn’t boring, it’s fun!” Abram said. “We really hope that we’ll be able to participate in campus events like Banana Splittin’ and other team games.”

The MAA club meets on certain Tuesdays at 7:50 p.m. in Patterson, room 324, for around an hour. Anyone is welcome to attend.