Picture of Andrew Simoson

Andrew James Simoson

Title:

Professor of Mathematics

School:

College of Arts and Sciences

Office Location:

Bristol Campus: White Hall 115

Office Phone:

423-652-4840

Email:




Of what use is a book without pictures?

This quote is by Charles Dodgson, a 19th century Oxford mathematician whose penname was Lewis Carroll. These are the words that Alice spoke in the context of falling down a rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.

Biography

One of my past-times is drawing, and some of my sketches have appeared in mathematics journals over the years. As I figure out how to incorporate images on this site, I will post a few---stay tuned if you're curious.

 

From 1975--79, I studied mathematics as a graduate assistant---usually teaching two sections of calculus to about 30 students each---at the University of Wyoming and Syracuse University (I accompanied my dissertation advisor there during his sabbatical year from Wyoming).  In Laramie, Wyoming, I signed up for skiing one semester---and each Wednesday after math classes, I skied  the Big Snowy Mountains fifty miles west of the campus, an enjoyable, rare break from studies. And in Syracuse, I met my wife to be, whereafter we accepted a position at King, starting in 1980.

Over the years since then, I have had two sabbatical years, 1990--91 and 1997--98, the first to Botswana and the second to Tanzania, where I taught at the University of Botswana in Gaborone and at the University of Dar es Salaam, respectively.  In Botswana---which is the Kalihari Desert---we bought a used LandRover, and drove all over southern Africa during school holidays together with my wife and our two sons.  As you might expect, we broke down often far from home and help. In Tanzania, our family hiked up Kilimanjaro on a 5 day expedition over Christmas.

Both of our sons graduated from King. The older one majored in physics and played intercollegiate soccer---being the King keeper for four years;  afterwards he earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering and is now an engineer for GE in Pennsylvania working on emissions standards/compliance on diesel train engines.  My younger son majored in computer science and voice, and went on to earn a pair of master's degrees, one in opera performance and the other in software design; he is currently a software engineer involved with voice recognition in conjunction with medical record keeping---and still has once a week voice lessons.  This summer (2015), we were blessed with a first grandchild!

Each semester at King, I usually teach three or four courses and try to engage at least one student in independent research with me, which often leads to a joint publication in a mathematics journal with the student as well as a student poster presentation at a convenient mathematics conference.  Our most recent student collaboration success was a 2014 article in a math journal on an old African board game called Mancala and how the endgame can be interpreted as a nim-like game---a classic well-studied mathematical game. The student who worked with me this past year (2015) attended a summer mathematical institute in Budapest, and our paper is currently being refereed for publication.



Education

  • Ph.D. in Mathematics, 1979, from the University of Wyoming. My dissertation, 79 pages long, was on Decomposability and its Applications to Optimization.  It was all about separating objects in arbitrary dimensions with hyperplanes.
  • B.S. in Mathematics, 1975, from Oral Roberts University, summa cum laude. My senior paper was on perfect squares in the context of  primitive Pythagorean triples---that is, trios of integers, a, b, and c which satisfy the Pythagorean theorem, the simplest nontrivial example of which is 3,4,5.

 


Recent Publications and Presentations

Books

  • Hesiod's Anvil: falling and spinning through heaven and earth, Mathematical Association of America, 2007.
  • Voltaire's Riddle: Micromégas and the measure of all things, Mathematical Association of America, 2010.
  • Meton's Neumenon: when will it come again? in preparation.



Articles

  • Decomposability and dual optimization in Banach spaces with L. Asimow, Journal of Mathemtical Analysis and Applications 84 (1981) 12--43.
  •  An Archimedean paradox,  American Mathematical Monthly  89 (1982) 114--116, 125.
  •  On two halves being two wholes,  American Mathematical Monthly 91 (1984) 190-193.
  • More scouts in the desert, with Scott Woolley,  Journal of Recreational Mathematics 20 (1988) 27--31.
  • Scouting out tilings, Journal of Recreational Mathematics 20 (1988) 81--86.
  •  A difference equation for strings of ones, American Mathematical Monthly  95 (1988) 636--8.
  • Scouts in space, with Sherri Shepard, Journal of Recreational Mathematics 21 (1989) 195--202.
  • Scouts in hyperspace, with Sherri Shepard,  Computers and Graphics 13 (1989) 253--260.
  •  Petals of the polar flower, Mathematics in College, Fall/Winter (1989) 34--37.
  • Tilings: Periodic, and Penrose, with S. Buyske, J.Cedarberg, E. Magarian, a COMAP (Consortium on Mathematical Applications) Module, 1993.
  • On edge-graceful and super-edge-graceful graphs, with John Mitchem,  Ars Combinatoria 37 (1994) 97--111.
  • Edge-graceful cootie, Congressus Numerantium 101 (1994) 117--128.
  • Graceful paths to edge-graceful trees, with Christopher Simoson, Ars Combinatoria 39 (1995) 49--64.
  • On the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Proceedings of  ACMS (Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences) 10 (1995) 40-49.
  • The falling ladder paradox, with Paul Scholten, College Mathematics Journal 27 (1996) 49--54.
  • Balanced strands for symmetric edge-graceful spiders, with Jon Keene, Ars Combinatoria 42 (1996) 49--64.
  • An envelope for a Spirograph, College Mathematics Journal 28 (1997) 134--139.
  • Antimagic pickup sticks, with David Goorskey, Congressus Numerantium 126 (1997) 43--52.
  • Beholding a rotating beacon, with Irl Bivens, Mathematics Magazine 71 (1998) 83--104.
  • Tracking the trochoid on safari, Proceedings of the ACMS 12 (1999) 115-128.
  • A Fibonacci desert storm, Journal of Recreational Mathematics 30 (1999--2000) 1--8.
  • The trochoid as a tack in a bungee cord, Mathematics Magazine 73 (2000) 171--184.
  • Fast-food-frusta and the center of gravity, College Mathematics Journal 31 (2000) 303--306.
  • The tumbling tetrahedron, American Mathematical Monthly 108 (2001) 59--63.
  • Platonic solid insanity, with Andrews Jebasingh, Congressus Numerantium 154 (2002) 101--111.
  • The gravity of Hades, Mathematics Magazine 75 (2002) 335--350.
  • Falling down a hole through the earth, Mathematics Magazine 77 (2004) 171--189.
  • Bringing Mr. H. G. Wells back from the moon, Primus 14 (2004) 328--344.
  • Retrieving Mr. H. G. Wells from the ocean floor,  Primus 15 (2005) 363--373.
  • Playing ball in a space station,  College Mathematics Journal 37 (2006) 334--343.
  • Sliding along a chord through a rotating earth, American Mathematical Monthly 113 (2006) 922--928.
  • Pursuit curves for the Man in the Moone, College Mathematics Journal 38 (2007) 330--338.
  • Albrecht Dürer's trochoidal woodcuts, Primus 28 (2008) 489--499.
  • Solomon's sea and pi, College Mathematics Journal 40 (2009) 22--32.
  • A double-minded fractal,  Primus 19 (2009) 381--387.
  • Maximizing the spectacle of water fountains, College Mathematics Journal 40  (2009) 263--274.
  • Black holes through The Mirrour, Mathematics Magazine 82 (2009) 372--381.
  • Newton's  radii, Maupertuis' arclength, and Voltaire's giant, College Mathematics Journal 42 (2011) 183--190.
  • Spurtacular fountains, with C. W. Groetsch, Mathematical Gazette 96 (March 2012) 166--168.
  • Ben-Hur staircase climbs, with John Dodge, College Mathematics Journal 43:4 (2012) 274--284.
  • In search of the big bubble, Atiner Essays on Mathematics and Statistics 3 (2013) 207--214. A longer version of this paper also appeared with Bethany Wentzky in Primus 21 (2011) 163--174.
  • Periodicity domains and the transit of Venus, American Mathematical Monthly 121:4 (2014) 283--298.
  • Bilbo and the last moon of autumn, Math Horizons 21:4  (2014) 5--9.
  • Mancala as nim, with Rhianna Fillers and Wm. Linderman, College Mathematics Journal 45:5 (2014) 350--356.
  • Life lessons from Leibniz, Math Horizons 22:4 (2015) 5--7, 29.
  • Twisting the keyword length from a Vigenére cipher, with Thomas Barr, Cryptologia (May 2015).
  • The best religious calendar, to appear in the 2015 ACMS Proceedings.
  • Meg, Neg, Peg, and Reg, submitted.
  • Lunar  rhythms and the 17 year cicada, with Shuler Hopkins, submitted.
  • Minimizing Utopia, submitted.

Book and Video Reviews

  • Review of Netz and Noel's The Archimedes Codex, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 60 (2008) 132.
  • Review of G. Van Brummelen's The Mathematics of the Heavens and the EarthPerspectives on Science and Christian Faith 61 (2009) 199--200.
  • Review of M. Terrall's The Man who Flattened the Earth,  Mathematical Intelligencer 32:4 (2010) 69--72.
  • Review of L. Ferreiro's Measure of the Earth,  Mathematical Intelligencer 33:4 (2011) 51--53.
  • Review of K. Alder's The Measure of All ThingsMathematical Intelligencer 34:4 (2012) 73--74.
  • Review of L. Wapner's Unexpected Expectations, Mathematical Reviews (2012)  MR2932330.
  • Review of J. Mazur's, What's Luck Got to Do  with It? Mathematical Reviews (2012) MR2963893.
  • Review of A. Wulf's Chasing VenusMathematical Intelligencer 35:1 (2013) 84--85.
  • Review of the DVD, M. du Sautoy's The Story of Math, Mathematical Reviews (2013) MR2985575.
  • Review of D. Hathout's Wearing Gauss's JerseyMathematical Reviews (2013) MR3059207.
  • Review of S. Strogatz's The Joy of x, Mathematical Reviews (2013) MR3077156.
  • Review of S. Singh's The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, Mathematical Reviews (2014) MR3155039.
  • Review of E. Frenkel's Love and Math, Mathematical Reviews (2014) MR3155773.
  • Review of P. Nahin's Will You be Alive 10 Years from Now?  Mathematical Intelligencer 36:3 (2014) 90--91.
  • Review of R. E. Schwartz's Really Big NumbersMathematical Reviews (2014) MR3185649.

Recent Mathematics Addresses

  • Twisting the keyword length from a Vigenére cipher, Joint National Mathematics Conference, San Antonio, TX, 10 January 2015.
  • A lunatic trick for the Moon's cycle, SouthEast Sectional Spring Meetings of the MAA, University of NC at Wilmington,  13 March 2015.
  • Of what use is a book without pictures? mathematics as a sensory pursuit, a convocation given at Indian Springs School, Birmingham, AL, 16 March 2015.
  • The best religious calendar, Biennial Conference of the ACMS, Redeemer University College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 29 May 2015.

Current research

  • Each year I attend and present a paper at the joint national mathematics meetings in January. Last year (2015) it was in San Antonio and my paper was on cracking vigenére ciphers using a twisting operation on sorted letter frequencies of cipher texts, and this year (2016)  it will be in Seattle, Washington, and my paper will be on designing Utopia island given the geographical clues posed by Sir Thomas More in his 1516 book on Utopia.
  • Each year I also attend the SouthEast Sectional Spring Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America. The venues rotate among five states: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.  Last year (2015) was held in Wilmington, NC, where I gave a paper on the regularity of the phases of the moon, showing why a 19 year cycle has a greater standard deviation than a 160 year cycle. In addition, we usually field a Math Jeopardy King College team to vie for the win against about three dozen other schools around the southeast. Last year (2015), our team of three King students placed 5th out of 36 teams!
  • Every other year, I attend the biennial meetings of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences.  Last year (2015) it was held near Toronto, Canada, at which I gave a paper on why many religions follow a 19 year calendar.
  • Each year I try to coach at least one King student in mathematical research, and have the student present at a convenient conference.  This past year (2015) one of my students presented at a poster session at the MAA's southeastern section meetings in Wilmington, NC, on why the cicada has a 17 year life cycle. We often get our project papers published jointly in an appropriate mathematics journal.
  • For the past five years, I have served as an AP Calculus reader wherein about 1000 mathematicians from every state in the union trek to Kansas City, MO, to evaluate nearly half a million calculus exams, reading 8 hours a day for 7 straight days!

Courses recently taught

MATH 2100 LECT Programming with Graphics, Symbols, and Text
MATH 2350 LECT Calculus I
MATH 2370 LECT Vector Calculus
MATH 2480 LECT History of Mathematics
MATH 3120 LECT Number Theory
MATH 3150 LECT Mathematical Statistics
MATH 3250 LECT Geometry
MATH 3430 LECT Differential Equations
MATH 3470 LECT Applied Mathematics
MATH 3510 LECT Abstract Algebra
MATH 3520 LECT Further Studies in Abstract Algebra
MATH 3610 LECT Analysis
MATH 3620 LECT Further Studies in Analysis