17 Students Join Mathematics Honor Society

Mathematics Honor Society

This year, 17 Augustana students were inducted into the South Dakota Delta chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Mathematics Honorary Society. Pi Mu Epsilon is dedicated to the promotion of mathematics and recognition of students who successfully pursue mathematical understanding.

Dr. Lindsay Erickson, assistant professor of mathematics, gave a talk during the ceremony entitled "Game Theory and the Cuban Missile Crisis."

For induction into Pi Mu Epsilon, undergraduate students must complete at least the equivalent of two semesters of calculus and two additional courses in mathematics, at or above the calculus level, all of which lead to the fulfillment of the requirements for a major in the mathematical sciences. In addition, such students must have maintained a grade point average equivalent to that of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale, both for all courses that lead to fulfillment of requirements for a major in the mathematical sciences, and also for all courses that lead to fulfillment of requirements for an undergraduate degree.

The following students were inducted: 

  • Abubeker Abdo
  • Emma Behling
  • Julie Behrens
  • Geoffrey Gray-Lobe
  • Halelua Hamito
  • Cooper Kruesel
  • Bryan Jackson
  • Bereket Mamo
  • Abby Martin
  • Thomas Norland
  • Avery Selberg
  • Taylor Stacey
  • Selamawit Tegegn
  • Michael Viste
  • Jacob Wargo
  • Kyle Widman
  • Nadab Wubshet

Abstract for "Game Theory and the Cuban Missile Crisis"

In October of 1962, in the midst of the Cold War, the United States confirmed that the Soviet Union was building nuclear missile launch sites in Cuba. These launch sites were all well within striking distance of most of the contiguous U.S. states. The U.S. determined that they had four possible options/outcomes: 1) Enact a naval blockade which may result in the removal of the Soviet missiles; 2) Enact a naval blockade which may result in no missile removal; 3) Enact an air strike to destroy missiles that the Soviets intended on keeping in Cuba; 4) Enact an air strike to destroy missiles that the Soviets intended to remove. Each of these options had pros and cons, and each had major, history-altering consequences. In an attempt to make the best of a messy situation, the U.S. applied economic game theory to the four outcomes to determine their best strategy. This talk will explain economic game theory with some common application, including the Prisoners' Dilemma and Chicken, and give a brief history of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how mathematics resolved an international conflict.