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Mathematics

illustration of girl writing math equations on chalkboard
Spring 2020

How to encourage a girl: Improving diversity in STEM

“Your daughter is obviously good at math,” the teacher says to the girl’s parents at a fourth-grade parent-teacher meeting.

The parents have noticed this, too, and suggest to the fourth grader that she study physics, astronomy, maybe engineering or another math-intensive field. As she gets older, she remains interested in all those things, but she’s also picking up messages that are telling her something quite different.

She and her family are avid Big Bang Theory fans. They’ve watched every episode. So even as her parents and teachers are saying, “You’re good at this!” and “Follow your passion!” she’s seeing portrayals of men in gendered professions, … » More …

Don Bushaw
Summer 2012

Donald Wayne Bushaw 1926–2012—A great teacher and a great learner

“Learning should be an unending process,” said Don Bushaw in an interview some years back. Anyone who knew him at all will know this was no idle observation. Bushaw, who first arrived at Washington State College in 1943 as a 17-year-old freshman and returned, a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton in hand, to teach and lead for a distinguished 43 years, passed away in Portland, Oregon, on January 15, 2012, surrounded by his wife and children.

Don Bushaw was born in Anacortes, Washington, on May 5, 1926, to Elmond and Ruth Bushaw. The family moved to Bremerton in 1930 when Elmond took a job at … » More …

Winter 2011

Sabermetrics As Told By The Simpsons

Between the book Moneyball and the movie “Moneyball,” there was the 2010 Simpsons episode “MoneyBART,” which introduced 6 million or so people to the artist Banksy, who wrote the opening sequence. Less celebrated is the fact that the show introduced many people to the concept of sabermetrics.

A viewer’s guide to the episode can go a long way in explaining some of the fundamental notions of baseball’s most exuberantly rational side.

First, the quick plot summary:

Lisa Simpson needs an extracurricular activity to pad her application to Yale, so she signs on to coach Bart’s Little League team, the … » More …

Winter 2011

A Coug’s Numbers, A Hollywood Story

By traditional baseball standards, Scott Hatteberg’s big league days were numbered.

He had been a Cougar standout, team captain, Most Valuable Player, and catcher for future All-Star Aaron Sele, with whom he went to the Red Sox in 1991. But in his fifth year in the majors he ruptured a nerve in his elbow. An operation left him unable to hold a baseball. In the words of Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, he was “a second string, washed up catcher.”

“I couldn’t throw as hard,” Hatteberg x’91 recalls. “My accuracy had gone. As a catcher, you lose … » More …