Math Horizons April 2010 : Page 2

Photo Essay Contest Results Thanks to everyone who responded to our essay contest in the November issue. Here are the top two essays. Winner: Integration by Cars Jeanmarie Youngblood Macalester College While bored one day in the parking lot The dorky cars had a troubling thought “We know how to find the integral For most powers of x, but not for all Powers of two become powers of three Add one to the exponent, easy to see But what if the power is negative one? x to the zero? That’s not how it’s done.” One said, “The integral is just the same As the area under the curve on a plane Let’s use this lot and a bit of math To make this function a really big graph We’ll fill up the space that’s under the curve Of 1/x, and this answer will serve As the definite integral, and then we’ll see How it relates to the function, approximately” So they all filed in along the white lines Except for a few who remained behind To count the cars and calculate The area; and thus, to integrate And when they told the rest the result The cars began to quickly consult ‘Til one car said, “Unless I’m confused That’s close to the log of the x that we used” The others agreed and were all quite pleased That their answer fit with such seeming ease And went to show their teacher next day What they’d learned while they were away The teacher said proudly, “Good work I see, And now you may have this period free For today, the lesson I planned to get done Was the integral of x to the negative one” Runner up: The Matrix James Street Randolph-Macon College Determined. Zero time to get a parking space and get to work. The matrix of cars, trucks and buses on the road right now is transforming into my worst nightmare. After what seems like days, I turn into the parking lot to enter the second phase of getting to work on time: parking. Do I spend time going up and down the aisles in the attempt to find a spot close to the building? Wish someone would run a quick cost-benefit analysis of finding a spot versus getting fired for being late. Determined. Zero chance of being on time now. I can’t seem to find a group of people that want to commute together. I settle on a spot and zoom up the main diagonal of the lot, falling out of the car before it’s even been put into park. All in all, I’d say that the product of all of the vehicles lined up along that diagonal is the sole determinant of why I got fired today.

Photo Essay Contest Results

Winner:<br /> <br /> Integration by Cars<br /> <br /> Jeanmarie Youngblood Macalester College<br /> <br /> While bored one day in the parking lot The dorky cars had a troubling thought “We know how to find the integral For most powers of x, but not for all<br /> <br /> Powers of two become powers of three Add one to the exponent, easy to see But what if the power is negative one? X to the zero? That’s not how it’s done.”<br /> <br /> One said, “The integral is just the same As the area under the curve on a plane Let’s use this lot and a bit of math To make this function a really big graph<br /> <br /> We’ll fill up the space that’s under the curve Of 1/x, and this answer will serve As the definite integral, and then we’ll see How it relates to the function, approximately”<br /> <br /> So they all filed in along the white lines Except for a few who remained behind To count the cars and calculate The area; and thus, to integrate<br /> <br /> And when they told the rest the result The cars began to quickly consult ‘Til one car said, “Unless I’m confused That’s close to the log of the x that we used”<br /> <br /> The others agreed and were all quite pleased That their answer fit with such seeming ease And went to show their teacher next day What they’d learned while they were away<br /> <br /> The teacher said proudly, “Good work I see, And now you may have this period free For today, the lesson I planned to get done Was the integral of x to the negative one”<br /> <br /> Runner up:<br /> <br /> The Matrix<br /> <br /> James Street Randolph-Macon College<br /> <br /> Determined. Zero time to get a parking space and get to work. The matrix of cars, trucks and buses on the road right now is transforming into my worst nightmare. After what seems like days, I turn into the parking lot to enter the second phase of getting to work on time: parking. Do I spend time going up and down the aisles in the attempt to find a spot close to the building? Wish someone would run a quick cost-benefit analysis of finding a spot versus getting fired for being late.<br /> <br /> Determined. Zero chance of being on time now. I can’t seem to find a group of people that want to commute together. I settle on a spot and zoom up the main diagonal of the lot, falling out of the car before it’s even been put into park.<br /> <br /> All in all, I’d say that the product of all of the vehicles lined up along that diagonal is the sole determinant of why I got fired today.

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