News Archive

Experience Opportunities

In addition to offering a rigorous curriculum, we believe that it is important for students to gain firsthand experience in politics and public service. Many of our students seek to translate what they have learned in the classroom to "real world" experiences beyond the campus gates, in the form of internships and service-learning activities.

Examples of the opportunities available include:

For details and application information, please stop by or contact the Political Science Department or, for the international programs, the College's Center for International Education and Off-Campus Programs.

September 5, 2013

 Title: Planning for Graduate Study in Mathematics and Computer Science Speaker: David A. ReimannProfessorMathematics and Computer ScienceAlbion CollegeAlbion, Michigan Abstract: A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for graduate school in areas such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, finance, and law. Come learn about graduate school and options you will have to further your education after graduation. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

October 3, 2013

 Title: What is the Point of Algebraic Geometry? A variety of Examples Speaker: David C. Murphy Associate Professor Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science Hillsdale College Hilldale Michigan Abstract: Algebraic geometry has been at the corner of much of mathematics for hundreds of years. Its applications range from number theory to modern phyiscs. Yet, it begins quite humbly with the study of conic sections: circles, ellipsys, hyperbolas, and parabolas. What is algebraic geometry and how did it grwo beyond the scope of these familiar curves to become one of the most important branches of methematics today? Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

October 10, 2013

 Title: Mathematics and Fiber Arts: Some Intersections Speaker: Norma J. Taber 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Lead Multi-Discipline Systems Engineer MITRE Corp. in McLean, VA Abstract: Color, texture, pattern - there's more than first meets the eye in my crocheting.  Come for a hands-on experience and new insights into finding mathematics in unlikely objects and expressing math concepts in artful ways. Invite your knitting and crocheting friends, bring someone who claims "I can't do math," attend with a classmate who thinks math is too abstract to be interesting, bring along that education major or art student. Build a bridge between math and their world: enjoy this event together. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

October 17, 2013

 Title: Pizza & Pamphlets Speaker: Pizza & Pamphlets is the event where the Mathematics and Computer Science Department provides information about spring courses in Mathematics and Computer Science. All Math majors/minors, Computer Science minors, Math/Physics majors, Math/Econ majors, prospective majors and friends of the department are invited to join us. Abstract: Bring your friends, your questions and your schedule. We will also provide pizza and pop! Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

October 31, 2013

 Title: EY - Intro to Data Analytics: Using Analytics to Build a Better Working World Speaker: Aaron Croad, '12 and Dennis O'Dowd, '13 Staff - Advisory Service Ernst & Young Detroit, MI Abstract: We live in an era where there has never been greater access to information. Being able to sift through and analyze this information to understand what is "noise" and what can actually lead to valuable insights has become a highly demanded commodity. In turn, so to have Data Analysts. For profit-seeking companies, the realization of business objectives through reporting of data to analyze trends, creating predictive models for forecasting and optimizing business processes for enhanced performance has become pivotal for sustainable success. In this talk, we will provide an introduction to data analytics and we will review how our employer, EY, uses data anayltics to build a better working world. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

November 7, 2013

 Title: Ford Circles, Euclidean Rings, and Graph Coloring Speaker: Lon Mitchell Associate Editor Mathematical Reviews American Mathematical Society Abstract: A research problem concerning the Colin de Verdiere number of a graph recently led me on a journey that provides a great example of the interconnected nature of mathematics. We'll take a relaxing cruise through some of the topics involoved, including ideas from Analysis, Algebra, Geometry, and Graph Theory, see how they all fit together, and talk about some of the mysteries that remain. Only knowledge of arithmetic is needed. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

November 14, 2013

 Title: Serious Game Design - Using Games to Make the World a Better Place Speaker: Culver Redd, '11 Game Designer and Software Engineer Communication Arts & Sciences (Recently Graduated) Michigan State Univ. (Recently Graduated) TechSmith Corp. Abstract: While games are ordinarily thought of as a means for entertainment and distraction, they are also inherently useful to accomplish all manner of other purposes. Among other thigns, games-both digital and physical-can be used to teach, modify behaviors, infulence opinions, and improve physical and mental health. I will share some of the major heuristics that are useful in designing games for "serious" purposes, as well more general knowledge of game design and the game industry. Additionally, I will share my experiences as a graduate student in the serious game design MA program at Michigan State University. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

November 21, 2013

 Title: Adjusting Child Support Payments in Michigan Speaker: Michael A. JonesAssociate EditorMathematical ReviewsAnn Arbor, MI Abstract: Michigan uses an unusual formula in the calculation of child support payments. For divorced parents in Michigan, the base monetary support each parent is expected to contribute to raising their child is adjusted according to the number of (over)nights spent with the parents. Curiously, this adjustment is based on a rational polynomial function parameterized by k that describes the amount of money that A must pay B, where B must pay A if the result is negative. In the 2004 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, k=2, meaning the polynomials are quadratic; while k=3 (for cubic polynomials) in both the 2008 and 2013 editions. In this talk, we will brainstorm and collaborate in using calculus to examine this function, explain the effect of changing k, and point out an alternative form that stretches and translates a simpler function. This talk is based on joint work with Jennifer Wilson (New School University, NY). Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

February 6, 2014

 Title: From Waster to Biogas - Insight through Mathematical Modeling Speaker: Marion WeedermannChair, Dir. of Joint Engineering Porgram with IITDept of MathematicsDominican University Abstract: Anaerobic digestion is a biochemical process in which organic matter is broken down to biogas and various byproducts in a oxygen-free environment. When used in waste treatment facilities, the biogas i scaptured before it excapes into the atmosphere. It can then be used as renewable energy either by combusting the gas to produce electrical energy or by extracting the methane and using it as a natural gas fuel. In industrial applications anaerobic digestion appears to be difficutl to control and reactors often experience break-down resulting in little or no biogas production. In this talk we describe a model for anaerobic digestion and illustarte how qualitative and numberical analysis give guidelines for how to control the system to (1) stablize and (2) optimize biogas production. At the same time the model explains various possible pitfalls in industial installations. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

February 13, 2014

 Title: Bernoulli Numbers and Polynomials Speaker: David GaeblerAssistant Professor MathematicsHillsdale College Mathematics Dept.Hillsdale, MI Abstract: Question: What do sums of powers have to do with approximations of factorials? Answer: Integration by parts. No, really? In this talk we will see how a clever use of standard calculus techniques leads to the Euler-Maclaurin formula, a powerful way of connecting sums to integrals, and how this formula solves several classic problems. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

March 3, 2014

 Title: What exactly is half a derivative anyway? Speaker: William R. Green, '05Assistant ProfessorDept. of MathematicsRose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyTerre Haute, IN Abstract: The Theory of differentiation is well-known to any student who has taken calculus. However, it make sense of a non-integer order derivative takes considerable more work. Tools are needed from complex analysis, harmonic analysis and linear algebra to understand a half derivative. In this talk, we will begin by investigating what it means to take the square root of a matrix, and viewing a derivatie as a "really large matrix" we can begin to make sense of a half derivative. With these simple tools, we can make sense of even crazier object such as derivatives of imaginary order! Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

March 6, 2014

 Title: Partial Geometries and Strongly Regular Graphs: Connections and Questions Speaker: Ellen KamischkeTeacher Assistant, MathematicsMichigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI Abstract: Partial geometries were first described in 1963 by R.C. Bose. They are finite point line geometires specified by three parameters that are defined by a set of four basic axioms.  Each partial geometry has a strongly regular point graph. While some very simple shapes can be understood as partial geometries, the number of proper ones is actually limited. In this talk we will define both the geometries and the graphs and explore some connections between them. We will also look at how we can use a group of automorphisms acting on the geometry to clasify it as one of three types. Finally we will see how this work enables us to generate a list of parameters for potential partial geometries and how we are beginning to investigate these possiblilities. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

April 3, 2014

 Title: Fractals, p-adics, and a problem of Erodos Speaker: William AbramAssistant Professor, MathematicsHillsdale CollegeHillsdale, MI Abstract: Erdos asked: when does the base 3 expansion of a power of 2 omit the digit 2? His conjectured answer is that this only happens for 1, 4, and 256, but this conjecture is still open, and has proven to be very elusive. There underlies a deep relationship between the primes 2 and 3. Our attempt to understand this relationship has led to interesting connections among symbolic dynamical systems, graph theory, p-adic analysis, number theory, and fractal geometry. Despite the awesome variety of mathematics involved, linear algebra should be sufficient background knowledge for this talk. I report on joint work with Jeff Lagarias of the University of Michigan and Artem Bolshakov of the University of Texas of Dallas. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

April 10, 2014

 Title: Stripes, Squares & Oscillons: An Introduction to Mathematical Modeling and Pattern Formation Speaker: Catherine CrawfordAssistant Professor, MathematicsElmhurst CollegeElmhurst, IL Abstract: Patterns appear everywhere in the world around us from zebra stripes, to hexagonal honeycombs, to spiral arrangements of sunflower seeds, to the periodic ups and downs of a population size due to seasonal migration. Similar patterns also arise in experiments done in many disciplines, such s physics, chemistry, and biology. One goal in studying pattern formation is to understand why and how these patterns are created.  Another goal is to determine whether similar patterns from vastly different systems can be described and understood through similar mathematical model equations. This talk will describe how a pattern can be represented mathematically and how basic knowledge of functions and derivatives can help determine when and where the patterns will exist. Ananlytical and numerical results will be compared with experimental observations. Finally, the connection between the underlying pattern and the observation of a single, isolated pulse, called an oscillon, will be described. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

April 17, 2014

 Title: Operations Research/Advanced Analytics: Opportunities and Methods in Applied Math Speaker: Andrew M. RossAssistant Professor, MathematicsEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilanti, MI Abstract: Operations Research in an area of applied math that deals with analyzing and optimizing many different systems: industial, nonprofit, government, healthcare, etc. It operates at the intersection of math, engineering, statistics, computer science, and business. We will talk about common focus areas like minimizing waiting times for important public services, and scheduling staff in an optimal way. The methods are incredibly powerful--optimization decisions can often involve hundreds of thousands of variables, and sometimes millions or billions. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM

September 6, 2012

 Title: Point of View: Scientific Imagination in the Renaissance (Program 3 from The Day the Universe Changed) Speaker: James Burke (Virtual) Science Historian James Burke Institute Abstract: The introduction of perspective techniques transforms Europe's use of art, architecture, geography and navigation among others with its revolutionary concept of remote positioning. Available on YouTube. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

September 13, 2012

 Title: On God's Number(s) for Rubik's Slide Speaker: Brittany Shelton Ph.D. Candidate Mathematics Department Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA Abstract: Rubik's Slide is a puzzle which consists of a $3 \times 3$ grid of squares that is reminiscent of a face of the well-known cube. Each square may be lit one of two colors or remain unlit. The goal is to use a series of moves, which we view as permutations, to change a given initial arrangement to a given final arrangement. Each play of the game has different initial and final arrangements. To examine the puzzle, we use a simpler $2 \times 2$ version of the puzzle to introduce a graph-theoretic approach, which views the set of all possible puzzle positions as the vertices of a (Cayley) graph. For the easy setting of the puzzle, the size of the graph depends on the initial coloring of the grid. We determine the size of the graph for all possible arrangements of play and determine the associated god's number (the most moves needed to solve the puzzle from any arrangement in the graph). We provide a Hamiltonian path through the graph of all puzzle arrangements that describes a sequence of moves that will solve the easy puzzle for any initial and final arrangements. Further, we use a computer program to determine an upper bound for god's number associated to the graph representing the medium and hard versions of the puzzle. This is joint work with Michael A. Jones, Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor MI and Miriam Weaverdyck, Bethel College, North Newton KS. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

September 20, 2012

 Title: Planning for Graduate Study in Mathematics and Computer Science Speaker: David A. Reimann Associate Professor Mathematics and Computer Science Albion College Albion, Michigan Abstract: A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for graduate school in areas such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, finance, and law. Come learn about graduate school and options you will have to further your education after graduation. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 Citation Click for BibTeX citation

September 27, 2012

 Title: Tessellations and Symmetries of the Plane Speaker: David A. Reimann Associate Professor Mathematics and Computer Science Albion College Albion, Michigan Abstract: Pattern, repetition, and symmetry play important roles in the aesthetics of imagery. Tessellations use patterns of repeated geometric shapes to cover the plane. Uniform tessellations use regular polygons to cover the plane with no gaps or overlaps. The polygons in such tessellations can be decorated in such a way to give rise to interesting visual patterns. The inherent symmetry of regular polygons gives rise to tessellations containing symmetry patterns. Example symmetric tessellation patterns will be presented. An explanation of algorithmic techniques for constructing uniform tessellations will also be presented. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

October 4, 2012

 Title: Stochastic Optimal Control Models for Online Stores Speaker: Albert Cohen Actuarial Program Director Mathematics AND Statistics and Probability Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Abstract: We present a model for the optimal design of an online auction/store by a seller. The framework we use is a stochastic optimal control problem. In our setting, the seller wishes to maximize her average wealth level, where she can control her price per unit via her reputation level. The corresponding Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellmann equation is analyzed for an introductory case, and pulsing advertising strategies are recovered for resource allocation. Paper is available on ArXiv at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1103.1918.pdf Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

October 11, 2012

 Title: Rational Approximations of $\sqrt{2}$: An Introduction to Isosceles Almost Right Triangles Speaker: David Friday, '04 Instructor Mathematics Macomb Community College Clinton Township, Michigan Abstract: While visiting the Calculus and Physical Sciences Tutorial Lab at Grand Rapids Community College, a question was posed: for what values of $n$ will the sum of the first $n$ positive integers be a perfect square? A thorough investigation of the problem and the introduction of the concept of an isosceles "almost" right triangle yielded a number of interesting results. One of the results involves a sequence of rational numbers that converges to $\sqrt{2}$, yielding some excellent approximations. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

October 25, 2012

 Title: Opt Art Speaker: Robert Bosch Mathematics Oberlin College Oberlin, Ohio Abstract: Optimization is the branch of mathematics concerned with optimal performance---finding the best way to complete a task. It has been put to good use in a great number of diverse disciplines: advertising, agriculture, biology, business, economics, engineering, manufacturing, medicine, telecommunications, and transportation (to name but a few). In this lecture, we will showcase its amazing utility by demonstrating its applicability in the area of visual art, which at first glance would seem to have no use for it whatsoever! We will begin by describing how to use integer programming to construct a portrait out of complete sets of double nine dominoes. We will then describe how high quality solutions to certain large-scale traveling salesman problems can lead to beautiful continuous line drawings. We will conclude by presenting other examples of Opt Art---art constructed with the assistance of mathematical optimization techniques. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

November 1, 2012

 Title: Skolem, Langford, Extended, and Near-Skolem Sequences, Oh My! Speaker: Heather Jordon Associate Editor Mathematical Reviews Ann Arbor, MI Abstract: A Skolem sequence of order $t$ is a sequence $2t$ integers such that each integer between 1 and $t$ appears twice and two instances of the integer $k$ are $k$ apart. For example, 5242354311 is a Skolem sequence of order 5. These sequences, and their generalizations, are very interesting from a combinatorial point of view and have many applications. In this talk, we will discuss Skolem sequences and some generalizations: extended, Langford, and near-Skolem sequences. We will also discuss a few applications of these sequences, including integer partitioning and graph decompositions. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

November 8, 2012

 Title: Symmetry + Cardboard = Sculpture Speaker: George W. Hart Sculptor and Mathematician New York, New York Abstract: George Hart, the designer of the sculpture Comet!, which hangs in the science complex atrium, will return to Albion for a hands-on workshop on mathematical sculpture. During his visit to Albion, he will lead participants in a hands on construction of a brand new never seen geometrical sculpture. During the workshop, the mathematical ideas behind the sculpture will be explained and participants will build their own personal sculpture with playing cards. For other examples of his work, see georgehart.com. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

November 15, 2012

 Title: Math in my World (Business to Politics) Speaker: Art Kale, '71 Calhoun County Commissioner, Board Chair Calhoun County Albion, Michigan Abstract: Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

November 29, 2012

 Title: What does Fairness have to do with Cake and Chicken? Speaker: Michael A. Jones Associate Editor Mathematical Reviews Ann Arbor, MI Abstract: The Adjusted Winner procedure is a fair division procedure used to divide contested items between two people so that the allocation satisfies three desirable properties (efficiency, equitability, and envy-freeness). After reviewing these properties and the procedure, I'll explain how the procedure is related to cake cutting. Further, exploiting information and manipulating the Adjusted Winner procedure is an example of the game of Chicken. This talk combines ideas from two previously published papers: Michael A. Jones and Stanley F. Cohen, Fairness: How to Achieve It and How to Optimize in a Fair-Division Procedure, Mathematics Teacher 94 (3) 2004: 170-174. and Michael A. Jones, Equitable, Envy-free, and Efficient Cake Cutting for Two People and Its Application to Divisible Goods, Mathematics Magazine 75 (4) 2002: 275-283. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

December 6, 2012

 Title: Yo-Yo Trick Combinatorics Speaker: Alexandra L. Sovansky, 13 Mathematics MajorMathematics and Computer ScienceAlbion College Albion, Michigan Abstract: Oftentimes, multiple different yo-yo tricks can be done sequentially before the yo-yo returns to the user's hand. Tricks can be done like that due to the fact that some tricks end where others begin, and vice versa. If we take these common start/end points to be nodes on a directed graph, all sorts of possibilities for mathematical examination open up. In this talk, we will look at how interesting parts of graphs (such as cycles) translate into yo-yo trick combos, and also how real-world restrictions on yo-yo trick combos affect what we can do with the graphs. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

December 6, 2012

 Title: An Introduction to Fractals Speaker: Marc Winter, 13 Mathematics Major Mathematics and Computer Science Albion College Albion, Michigan Abstract: This presentation intends to cover the basics of what a fractal is. Since fractals don't tend to have integer dimensions like we are used to this will include how to determine the dimension of fractals. We will also discuss some simpler fractals that are easy to conceptualize many of these will come from a group of fractals known as the polygaskets. The polygaskets are fractals that are based on recursively using a polygon shape to create them. A prime example of these is Sierpinski's triangle which is a fractal based off of a triangle. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

January 31, 2013

 Title: Necessity and Scope in the Logic of Quantification Speaker: Jeremy Kirby Associate Professor Philosophy Albion College Albion, MI Abstract: When I say "Eight is necessarily greater that seven," I state something that is true. In contrast, when I say "The number of planets is necessarily greater than seven," I say something that is false. (We can conceive of a smaller solar system, indeed at times the number of planets is revised.) Furthermore, the locutions "eight" and "the number of planets" seem to pick out the same thing? How can it be both true and false of the same thing that it is necessarily greater than seven? Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

February 7, 2013

 Title: The \$25,000,000,000 Eigenvector Speaker: Dawn Archey Assistant Professor of Mathematics Mathematics and Software Engineering University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI Abstract: This talk will describe the mathematics behind Google's page rank algorithm. We will see how Google sets up and solves an eigenvector problem to decide which of the web pages containing your search terms are most relevant. The talk will also touch briefly on graph theory and computational complexity. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

February 14, 2013

 Title: The Trivial Owl Bundle on a Goat Speaker: Rachel Maitra Visiting Assistant Professor Physics Albion College Albion, MI Abstract: In this colloquium, we will see how to construct not only the trivial owl bundle on a goat (and a bonus nontrivial owl bundle), but a fish tank that can mirror-reverse your fish. Fiber bundles are more than just something you should be eating for breakfast every day. They can be used to describe and construct forces of nature in this universe and the next. They are also good for hours of pure topological fun. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

February 21, 2013

 Title: The Math and Algorithms behind TesselManiac and Tessellations Speaker: Kevin Lee Instructor Math/CSCI Math/CSCi Normandale Community College Bloomington, Minnesota Abstract: Modern computer graphics cards have GPUs (graphic processing units) that can do several hundred million calculations per second. I will demonstrate my new algorithms that exploit this power to create and animate Escher-like tessellations (tilings) of the plane in real time. Besides being fun, the animations dramatically illustrate the geometry behind the tessellations. I will also discuss how parametric equations, symmetry groups, homogenous coordinates, linear algebra, computational geometry, computer graphics, and data structures all come together to create the algorithms behind the animations. TesselManiac is my third major tessellation program, my previous programs include TesselMania and Tessellation Exploration. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

February 28, 2013

 Title: Careers in Mathematics and Computer Science Speaker: David A. Reimann Associate Professor and Chair Mathematics and Computer Science Albion College Albion, MI, USA Abstract: A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for employment in areas such as teaching, actuarial science, software development, engineering, and finance. Come learn about career opportunities awaiting you after graduation. Slides from the talk are available at http://zeta.albion.edu/~dreimann/talks/careers/careers.html. Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:10 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

April 11, 2013

 Title: Breaking Chaos Speaker: Ryan Huddy Graduate Student Mathematics Clarkson University Potsdam, New York Abstract: In mathematics, chaos can be defined as a deterministic dynamical system which has aperiodic long-term behavior and exhibits sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Surprisingly, such systems can be coupled together and made to synchronize. If their communication is delayed, this chaotic behavior can also be broken and stable periodic behaviors will emerge from the coupled system. Join me as we study the basics of chaotic systems and explore some examples of the synchronization of chaos (with and without delay). Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

May 2, 2013

 Title: Chaotic Dynamics and Lattice Effects Documented in Experimental Insect Populations Speaker: Shandelle M. Henson Professor and Chair Department of Mathematics Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI Abstract: Guided by the predictions of a discrete-time mathematical model, we induced a sequence of bifurcations (dynamic changes) in laboratory insect populations by manipulating one of the biological parameters in the system. In particular, we were able to induce chaotic dynamics. The data from these 8-year-long time series show the fine structure of the deterministic chaotic attractor as well as lattice effects (dynamic effects arising from the fact that organisms come in discrete units). We show that "chaos" is manifest in discrete-state noisy biological systems as a tapestry of patterns that come from the deterministic chaotic attractor and the lattice attractors, all woven together by stochasticity. References Henson, S. M., Costantino, R. F., Cushing, J. M., Desharnais, R. F., Dennis, B., and A. A. King 2001. Lattice effects observed in chaotic dynamics of experimental populations. Science 294:602-605. http://www.andrews.edu/~henson/HensonEtAlScience2001.pdf Dennis, B., Desharnais, R. A., Cushing, J. M., Henson, S. M., and R. F. Costantino 2001. Estimating Chaos and Complex Dynamics in an Insect Population. Ecological Monographs 71:277-303. http://www.andrews.edu/~henson/EcoMongr01.pdf Henson, S. M., King, A. A., Costantino, R. F., Cushing, J. M., Dennis, B., and R. A. Desharnais 2003. Explaining and predicting patterns in stochastic population systems. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270:1549-1553. http://www.andrews.edu/~henson/MeanModeReprint.pdf King, A. A., Costantino, R. F., Cushing, J. M., Henson, S. M., Desharnais, R. A., and B. Dennis 2004. Anatomy of a chaotic attractor: Subtle model-predicted patterns revealed in population data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101:408-413. http://www.andrews.edu/~henson/PNAS2004.pdf Location: Palenske 227 Time: 3:30 PM Citation Click for BibTeX citation

Why Study Philosophy?

The skills that a study of philosophy develops are useful in all walks of life. Analysis of arguments, clear and precise expression of one's views in both verbal and written form, and the ability to understand complex systems of thought will serve a person well no matter what career they choose.

Law and Government

Those students considering one of the professions such as the field of law, for example, have found our courses in Logic and Critical Reasoning (107) invaluable in preparation for the Law School Entrance Exam (LSAT). However, this and Philosophical Issues in the Law (335) are only the most obvious class choices for the aspiring law student. All philosophy classes emphasize rigorous argument, and students can hone their analytical reasoning skills in all of the courses we offer. This makes philosophy an excellent major for those interested in going to law school. Advice from the American Bar Association reflects this:

"Contrary to popular belief, law schools do not favor political science, criminal justice, and government majors over others. Choose major and elective courses that you will genuinely enjoy, instead of those you were told were required for pre-law students. You are likely to get better grades in a field you find interesting. And even if you don't, law schools will respect your pursuit of subjects you find challenging. This is especially true if the courses you take are known to be more difficult, such as philosophy, engineering, and science. Also, look for courses that will strengthen the skills you need in law school. Classes that stress research and writing are excellent preparation for law school, as are courses that teach reasoning and analytical skills."

The value of philosophy as a "pre-law" major is reflected in the performance of philosophy majors on the LSAT.
Philosophy majors consistently outperform most other majors on the LSAT.

Those students interested in careers in government will find Social Philosophy (202), Leadership Ethics (302), and Ethics and Public Policy (304) particularly useful.

Of course, those students with an interest in philosophy can also choose to pursue philosophy at the graduate level, and Albion has a strong track record at getting our majors into good programs. Yet there is some reason to think studying philosophy is helpful for pursuing most graduate degrees. Philosophy is a difficult subject, and becoming adept at understanding difficult philosophical texts and thinking through complex philosophical problems will help you to solve problems in other areas, as well. Again, results of standardized tests are consonant with this. Philosophy majors
consistently outperform all other majors on the Verbal Reasoning and the Analytical Writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). They also outperform all other Humanities majors on the GRE's Quantitative Reasoning section.

Students who are interested in business can also benefit from the study of philosophy. All employers value the sorts of skills the study of philosophy instills, and businesses are certainly no exception. For those students with an interest in business, the courses we most highly recommend are Ethics (201) and Business Ethics (303), but, again, those who find they have a passion for philosophy are encouraged to pursue it. Many will be surprised to discover that, on average, philosophy majors outperform all business majors (including economics majors and management majors) on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

How Your Philosophy Degree Can Be Relevant To Tech Startup Success
A degree in philosophy doesn't mean you're relegated to academia. Jon Dahl, founder of Zencoder proves that Aristotle has a lot to teach tech businesses today. Read more.

Medicine

Those interested in a career in the medical professions will find Biomedical Ethics (308) particularly appealing, but many will also want to take other courses that appeal to their interests—e.g. Philosophy and History of Science (220), Ethics (201), or Philosophy of Mind (318). Again, we want to emphasize that those students who find they have a particular interest in philosophy should pursue it. The Association of American Medical Colleges writes:

"Entrance requirements at most medical schools include completion of course work in biology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and English. But a liberal arts education is a key ingredient to becoming a physician, so it's important for your college experience to be well-rounded. Taking courses in the humanities and the social sciences will help you prepare for the "people" side of medicine. The ideal physician understands how society works and can communicate and write well."

"It should be strongly emphasized that a science major is not a prerequisite for medical school, and students should not major in science simply because they believe this will increase their chances for acceptance....For most physicians...the undergraduate years are the last available opportunity to pursue in depth a non-science subject of interest, and all who hope to practice medicine should bear this in mind when selecting an undergraduate major."

In connection with this, it's worth noting philosophy majors have among the highest acceptance rates to medical school. It is true that few pre-med students choose to major in philosophy, and this can help to explain why philosophy majors have a higher acceptance rate than biology majors, but the point here is not that pre-med students should study philosophy in order to help their chances of getting into med school. Rather, the point is that it's a mistake to think that those interested in the medical professions should not also pursue another of their academic interests. Indeed, quite the opposite is true.

The Sciences

Philosophy often explores the conceptual foundations of other disciplines. Philosophy and History of Science (220), for example, examines the basic concepts and underlying logic of scientific method and theory. Knowledge, Truth, and Reason (315) considers fundamental questions about knowledge and justified belief, and Philosophy of Mind (318) critically investigates theories of consciousness and the conceptions of the mind underlying psychology and cognitive science. Neuroscience and Ethics (306) and Environmental Ethics (301) examine connections between science and ethics. These natural affinities make double majors very attractive and are encouraged by the department.