Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category.

Retirement Book

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-8-14-53-amHeartfelt thanks to Brooks Foehl/Alumni Office and especially to my students for their kind remembrances upon my retirement:

Back in Granada

img_2014Back in Granada on my way to Alicante, staying once again at university residence Carmen de la Victoria, I revisited the site of a 13-year-old diary entry, dated June 15, 2003:

A dusty pedestrian road by the Alhambra is lined with engraved quotations. My favorite on Saturday was by Thoreau, translated into Spanish. Here are my own English version constructed from memory as I continued my walk, followed by the English original which I later found on the web, and finally my revision. Continue reading ‘Back in Granada’ »

Bridge in Buenos Aires

R24 Recoleta'16Got to fill in at last minute with Director Marcelo de Carlo at the Recoleta Bridge Club in Buenos Aires 3:30 pm Monday September 4, 2016. On the pictured Hand 2, East on my right opened 1S, I bid 2H, West passed, North bid 3H, East 4D, South 4H, West passed! and so did everyone else. West led the Spade 4 and followed with the 6 as East played K and A. It was surprising that West would pass with three spades, but I decided that W having all three hearts was more likely than false carding with two spades, so I trumped low. To pass with three spades, West must have almost nothing, so East must have the diamond A and club K. I played three rounds of trump to enter dummy and immediately led a diamond, East erring by playing low. Now when I run the hearts, leaving AQ of clubs and J of diamonds in dummy, East falls to an endplay. Unfortunately I chickened out at the last minute and took the losing club finesse.

Fortunately on the last Hand 24 I competed to 5Sx with everyone else in game the other way for 15 IMPS to tie for first.

Working at Home Depot

A guest post by Donna Kalinowsky.

I teach mathematics as an adjunct instructor at Berkshire Community College (BCC) in Massachusetts, which is one of a handful of states that does not allow its employees to pay into Social Security. To get my last requisite credits toward Social Security, I took a part-time job at Home Depot. Home Depot has taught me a lot about gratitude and dignity.

I have met several people at Home Depot who are good, smart, hard working people. I go to them often when I have an issue I can’t solve on my own. Some are part time like me, working unpredictable hours at $11 an hour. I doubt even the few full-time people earn a whole lot more. (Just like BCC, Home Depot tries to minimize full timers in order to avoid paying benefits, though Home Depot does offer some benefits to part timers if they work there long enough.)

I work there by choice, for a special reason, but for these people. This is their life. One girl has no car, so she has to take the bus to work. But if she is scheduled on a day when  no bus service is available, she has to take a cab to work. If she’s scheduled for four hours  at $11 an hour and a taxi costs $20, then it’s almost like she’s working for taxi money. Continue reading ‘Working at Home Depot’ »

More Solutions to Fermat with Fractional Exponents

Nicola Marino has offered to post the following preprint:

Irrational Exponents in Fermat’s Last Theorem. The n > 2 case.

by Nicola Marino

In this paper we find explicit irrational exponents greater than 2 solving the Fermat equation, which we call Algebraically Derived Ratio of Irrational (or ADRI) numbers. We then further expand the class of ADRI numbers to cover all the solution exponents for any Fermat equation.

Continue reading

Dale Hoffman on Community College Students

DaleOffice2010When speaking at the 2015 Washington Two-Year Mathematics Conference at Campbell’s Resort, Lake Chelan, I met many wonderful people, including Dale Hoffman of Bellevue College (formerly Bellevue Community College), who agreed to send me the following inspiring chronicle of some of his past students: Continue reading ‘Dale Hoffman on Community College Students’ »

Williams: Inclusive or Exclusive?

Which quote embodies the best of Williams?

1. “We are so fortunate and proud to be part of this exceptional group of brilliant and interesting faculty and students, the likes of which you’ll find nowhere else.”

2. “As a result of what we have been lucky enough to discover here, we are humbly eager to expand our boundaries and to respect, learn from, and share with everyone.” Continue reading at

Bridge in Allentown

Played bridge with my friend Bettie McLean at her Brookside Country Club game (1 April 2014). On the final board I played 6N: Continue reading ‘Bridge in Allentown’ »

Beautiful Sunday in Williamstown

This beautiful Sunday in Williamstown began with a bike ride to the celebration of Alpaca Day at Sweet Brook Farm. Then Fall Festival at Hopkins Forest, including homemade cider and apple butter, music, and many fair representatives of the Williams Math/Stats Department (see photos below). Finally a delightful harpsichord concert by Professor Emeritus Victor Hill at the Clark. Continue reading ‘Beautiful Sunday in Williamstown’ »

Williams at Collegiate Bridge Tournament

Collegiate Qualifying Bridge Tournament

Guest post by Neeko Gardner, Caroline Atwood, Paul Friedrich, Llewellyn Smith

 On Saturday, February 16th, the recently formed Williams College bridge team participated in the collegiate qualifying bridge tournament online on bridgebase. Having just come off an intensive month-long winter study class on bridge, we decided to test our newfound skills against other collegiate teams. We were up against Stanford, UPenn, CalTech, Hamilton, UChicago, Cornell, Dartmouth, NYU, and UWashington. Our first round we lost to Dartmouth, then beat NYU, tied against Hamilton, beat Stanford, and lost to UPenn in the final round. With our final loss to Penn who was playing precision and had been partners for over 5 years, we barely lost out qualifying. It was a great showing for Williams, and considering we’d only been playing for a month we did very well. Next year we hope to come back even stronger and qualify. Here’s an interesting hand from our match against Hamilton: Continue reading ‘Williams at Collegiate Bridge Tournament’ »