MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #103

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2011 Presentation #103 (February 25, 2011)

Professor Tim Pennings of Hope College and his Welsh Corgi Elvis

"Do Dogs Know Calculus?"

Previous Lectures: (Do Dogs Know Calculus?)

A standard calculus problem is to find the quickest path from a point on shore to a point in the lake, given that running speed is greater than swimming speed. Elvis, my Welsh Corgi, has never had a calculus course. But when we play "fetch" at Lake Michigan, he appears to choose paths close to the calculus answer. In this talk we reveal what was found when we experimentally tested this ability. Elvis will be available for follow-up questions. Elvis's last visit to Truax can be viewed by visiting: and to learn more about Professor Pennings, please visit:

Biography: Professor Tim Pennings is a professor of mathematics at Hope College. His professional interests include dynamical systems and infinity. His interest in infinity stems from an intrigue with the rich stuff that lies in the confluence of mathematics, physics, philosophy, and theology.  His nonprofessional interests include racquetball, ultimate frisbee, weightlifting, tennis, ping-pong, x-country skiing, biking, photography, vocal music, and guitar.

Special Note: This remarkable lecture received coverage on the front page of our local newspaper, The Wisconsin State Journal.  Scroll to the end of this page for scanned images of the article.


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