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Special Mathematics Colloquium: Do Dogs Know Calculus? Bifurcations at the Beach

Author: Lona | Image: Lona

Speaker: Dr. Tim Pennings

Abstract:  We will show that dogs – at least my dog, Elvis – knew calculus. That is, Elvis could find the optimal – fastest – route to a ball thrown into the water some distance down the beach. But what happened when Elvis is positioned in the water and retrieved a ball that is also in the water? When should he swim straight to the ball, and when should he swim in to the shore, run along the shore, and then swim back out to the ball? What is the bifurcation point for the change in optimal strategy? Did Elvis bifurcate? Did his fur bicate?