Centre College Mathematics Program

Past CentreTerm Course Offerings

During the January CentreTerm, our faculty offer First-Year Studies (FYS) courses and mathematics courses. Below you will find some of our recent offerings.

FYS 177 The Games We Play: This course will explore the mathematics behind several casino games such as roulette, poker, craps, and blackjack. Students will use counting techniques and probability to compute the odds of winning at such games. In addition to exploring the mathematics of the games, students will examine the social and economic impact of the gaming industry. Topics include gambling addiction, cheating, and the lottery. Taught by Wiglesworth in 2013.

FYS 176 Statistics in Sports: This course will introduce students to statistical methodology used to analyze sports. Students will apply the theory of statistical methods to sports data, sports performance modeling, and gaming in a variety of sports and sport‐related industries. Topics will include ratings models, prediction, sports betting, game simulation, and lineup optimization. Taught by Heath in 2013.

FYS 139 Mathematics in Sports, Games and Gambling: In this class, we will examine areas of probability, statistics, and discrete mathematics. We will draw our examples from several sports and games and develop the mathematics necessary for students to rationally analyze gambling applications. Taught by Wiglesworth in 2010, Heath in 2011, and Kilty in 2012.

FYS 111 Mathematical Impossibilities: This course explores certain questions in mathematics that do not have answers and will never be answered since mathematicians have logically proven that the hoped for answers simply do not exist. Topics include the halting problem from computer science, the continuum hypothesis from the study of infinity, and the question of parallel lines in geometry. In addition, we consider the history, people, and philosophical consequences of these results. Taught by McAllister in 2009.

MAT 257: Mathematical Modeling: An introduction to the formulation and analysis of mathematical models in the study of questions in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and management science. The primary focus is on describing real-world systems with a mathematical system of equations. Specific topics may include: curve-fitting, least squares, optimization, simulation, differential equations, and/or other areas of mathematics according to the interests of the instructor. Prerequisite: MAT 171. Last taught by Heath.

MAT 256: Math, Aesthetics and the Arts: Mathematics is embedded more deeply in the arts than many realize, both naturally and intentionally. Moving beyond the familiar themes of M.C. Escher and the Golden Ratio, we will explore connections between mathematics and the arts across a variety of genres, eras, cultures, and dimensions. Topics include tessellations, fractals, origami, constructions, perception, perspective, alternative geometries, and music. We will also look at a number of contemporary artists whose work is heavily influenced by mathematics. The course includes a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the Math and Art sessions of the Joint Mathematics Meetings and to visit our national museums. Prerequisite: MAT 171. Last taught by Wilson.

MAT 255 Mathematical Impossibilities: This course explores certain questions in mathematics that do not have answers and will never be answered since mathematicians have logically proven that the hoped for answers simply do not exist. Topics include the insolvability of quintic polynomials, non-Euclidean geometry, the Gödel Incompleteness Theorems, and the independence of the Continuum Hypothesis. In addition, we consider the history, people, and philosophical consequences of these results. Prerequisite: MAT 171. Last taught by McAllister.

MAT 253: Problems, Projects, and Presentations A study of different techniques used in mathematical problem solving. Students will work in teams and use mathematical software to solve problems arising in both pure and applied math projecs. Emphasis will be placed on oral and written presentation of results. A Wednesday - Saturday field trip is planned to the national Joint Mathematics Meetings in Phoenix, Arizona during the first week of the term. Last taught by Wilson.

MAT 260: Environmental Modeling This course will provide an introduction to mathematical modeling specifically focused on modeling critical issues in the environment. We will discuss the issues in an interdisciplinary manner by considering key chemical and physical processes important for the model, as well as the legal, political and ethical implications. We will learn how mathematical models are naturally and routinely used to analyze these issues fully. Last taught by Swanson.