Science in a Cup of Tea with Dr. Scott Olsson

November 6, 2018

“This cup of tea,” the lady claimed, “was made wrong. You put the tea in first and then the milk rather than putting the milk in before the tea. I could taste the difference immediately.”

Could she really and, if so, how would we know? How do we use experimentation to test her claim that she tastes the difference between a cup where milk was added to tea and one where tea was added to milk? The story is all about the scientific method.

While the answer may seem straightforward enough, it turns out that any scientific experiment is fraught with complications and difficulties. Dr. Scott Olsson’s students have been struggling with some of those complications and difficulties in this the first semester of their junior year. This week on the After Dinner Scholar, Dr. Olsson gives us a glimpse in the questions.


To Infinity and Beyond with Dr. Scott Olsson

May 29, 2018

The number of integers (1, 2, 3, 4, and so on) is infinite. And oddly enough so is the number of even integers (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and beyond). Meaning that the number of even integers is equivelent to the number of all integers, both odd and even? Yes. Welcome to infinity.

Each summer Wyoming Catholic College runs what we call our PEAK program for high school juniors and seniors. In it we give them a taste of life at the college including backpacking, horseback riding, Catholic worship and devotion, and classes complete with homework and tests. Not only do high school students enjoy the two weeks of PEAK, but they walk away with a pretty good idea of what it would be like to come to college here at Wyoming Catholic. Many decide that it would be wonderful and join us as freshmen.

This year mathematician Dr. Scott Olsson will be teaching a course at PEAK on infinity. And I asked Dr. Olsson to join us on The After Dinner Scholar with a finite preview of infinity.


Euclid and the Beauty of Numbers with Dr. Scott Olsson

February 14, 2017

For most of us mathematics is a wholly practical field of study. It allows us to count and to account. How much material do I need for my home improvement project? What’s my checkbook balance? Is my business profitable? How do I make a recipe for four into a recipe for six? Is it wise to invest in this or that mutual fund? Yet mathematicians tend to have a far loftier view of their field, reflecting on the beauty and the wonder of numbers. “The mathematician does not study pure mathematics because it is useful,” wrote mathematician J.H. Poincare, “he studies it because he delights in it and he delights in it because it is beautiful.”

To help us to understand this fuller view of mathematics we are joined by mathematician and Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences at Wyoming Catholic College, Dr. Scott Olsson.