Math Major Study Break

SAC Game Night

Come Procrastinate!


Math Game Night

November 18,2015

Room 111 — 7pm

Dessert Provided

Everyone Invited

Intermountain Mathematics Competition

All are invited to attend the Intermountain Mathematics Competition on November 14, 2015 8:30am-12:00pm in 136 TMCB. for more information contact Dr. Nilsen First place winner receives $500, 2nd $200, and 3rd $100.Breackfast will be provided and all above average scores will receive a BYUSTORE Gift Card

Problem Solving Club

BYU Math T-SHIRT Design Contest

To Be Or Not To Be

The Math Departments Annual opening social will be held on October 20th at 5:30. Come to discuss major options and learn more about programs offered by the Math Department.Pizza and Refreshments will be served.

Women’s Career Conversations Luncheon

Come to the Women’s Career Conversations Luncheon Tuesday Sept. 22 on the 3rd Floor Assembly Hall Hinckley Center. All female students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math are invited. Women professionals from academia and industry will share what they love about their careers and what challenges and opportunities are available in their professions. Please RSVP by Sept. 22 at, limited seating is available. For more information visit

Student Advisory Council

The Student Advisory Council will meet on September 9th at 4pm. Everyone is welcome to come find out what is new in the Math Department. The meeting will be held in the Math Library at 294TMCB

The BYU Mathletes are Back

The limelight is tricky for many star athletes, but fame’s learning curve is no problem for a trio of star mathletes.
A year after their rap music video caught the nation’s attention, the BYU mathletes lived up to the hype with a 7th place finish in the nation’s mathematical equivalent of March Madness – beating out math powerhouses such as Stanford, Cal-Tech, Duke, Michigan and UC-Berkeley along the way.
“This means a lot – it tells the world that we are doing great things here,” said BYU math professor Tyler Jarvis. “They’re going to have to take us seriously now that our name is up there with the big boys.”
BYU undergrads Hiram Golze, Sam Dittmer and Peter Baratta wrote their way into BYU’s record books with their performance in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Since 1938, thousands of the nation’s top college math students compete annually in this grueling six-hour exam. It’s so challenging that sometimes half the participants don’t score a single point.
The Cougars were led by a 50-point effort from the senior Golze. When the final seconds ticked off the clock, it finally hit home that his days competing for BYU were over.
“I stayed in the room where we took the test for a while, talking with my teammates, kind of like someone playing their last football game might stay on the field for a bit longer after the game than normal to soak in the final moments,” Golze said.
Entering the season, both Dittmer and Golze had secured spots on the three-student roster. For Dittmer, beating Stanford proved especially sweet. As a national math champ in high school, Dittmer received offers from Stanford and MIT but ultimately signed with BYU.
“I don’t talk a lot of trash or anything like that,” Dittmer said. “But we’ve been working towards this Top 10 finish for years, trying to show that we can compete with the top programs in the country and it paid off.”
Forty other students vied for the final spot on the team, and the suspense lasted beyond kickoff. The Mathematical Association of America allows any college student to compete individually, but the three students whose scores will represent their school need to be designated in advance.
Coach Tiancheng Ouyang gave sophomore Peter Baratta the nod but kept the selection secret until the exam ended. Baratta didn’t disappoint, as both he and Dittmer chipped in 41 points.
As a result, the team eclipsed the 1979 BYU squad’s 11th place finish for the best mark in school history. It’s also the fifth consecutive season in the Top 25 for the BYU Mathletes – also a school record. Expect no drop-off next year, as Dittmer returns for his senior season and Baratta will compete as a junior.
“We’ve been quietly orbiting near the Top 10 for quite a few years now,” Jarvis said. “I don’t think it’s going to be our last time in the Top 10, either. We’ve got good students, coaches and recruiting.”
With the nation facing a shortage of graduates in STEM programs (science, technology engineering and mathematics), BYU’s math department offers a blueprint for success. Jarvis served as BYU’s math department chair from 2006 to 2012. In that span, the number of math majors at BYU nearly doubled and the number of students competing in the Putnam tripled.
A study sponsored by the National Science Foundation also named BYU one of the best universities for learning calculus. The research didn’t just measure how well students learned the subject – it also looked at how much they enjoyed it.
“We realized long ago that a lot of people don’t choose math because of a bad experience they had with a teacher,” Jarvis said. “We’ve shown how fun math can be and that they can find a great career.”
BYU also sponsors junior high and high school math competitions as well as a regional university-level competition. It’s not just for the thrill of scholastically trouncing a pair of sports rivals, although the students celebrate their streak of wins over Boise State and the University of Utah. The higher purpose is to draw more students in the rising generation to a discipline that’s critical to our future.
Three cheers for our three mathletes!

A Pi Day to Remember

On March 14, BYU students were welcomed by a record-breaking sunny day to enjoy this year’s Pi Day festivities—the biggest BYU Pi Day celebration to date!
Activities were bigger and better than ever this year, and students didn’t hesitate to notice.  Over the course of just a couple of hours, thousands of students streamed past the various activities and participated in the fun.  Usual favorites such as Pi Sudoku, Pi Frisbee, Pi Basketball, and Buffon’s Needle attracted crowds as always.  Students cheered and clapped as they watched their professors get messy at the Pi-the-Professor booth.  Others got messy themselves during the Pie-Eating Contest.
The most popular and exciting attraction of the day was a human orbitron, sponsored by Qualtrics.  The human orbitron is a device in which a person is strapped in the center of three rotating circles (see below).  Dozens of students lined up to be able to experience this fun ride usually reserved for pilot and astronaut training.
High temperatures weren’t the only records to be broken on Pi Day 2013.  Clark Anderson, a junior from Wisconsin, broke the Pi-recitation record by reciting exactly 989 digits of pi from memory.
“I just memorized pi last summer and so I wanted to come here and break the record,” said Anderson. “I assigned each two digit number a person, an action, and an object. And then I created a story in my head so instead of numbers I’m memorizing this story and then I convert it back into numbers.”
If the day wasn’t exciting enough, the Math Department gifted free t-shirts to anyone with a Pi Day birthday. One student even won a t-shirt for having the word “pi” in his name (Pierce).  All in all, spirits were high as students and faculty celebrated pi and all of the mathematics behind it.  The festivities concluded with a countdown to 1:59, in order to complete pi’s digits of 3.14159.
Pi Day 2013 was a great success and the planning for next year’s celebration is underway! To view pictures of the event, visit the department’sFacebook page.