## Alumnus Profile

#
Peter Ash ’66

### Solving Arithmophobia

###### By Nisma Elias ’12

What is the smallest number of people (N) who must be in a room before it is more likely than not that two share the same birthday?

If this sort of question makes you break into a cold sweat, Peter Ash is your man. For more than two decades, Peter has been helping adults of all ages overcome math anxiety. He spent 15 years teaching mathematics at the undergraduate level, after which he became interested in computer graphics. He then worked as a software engineer before going back to what he loved most—math and teaching. “I love helping people who think they can’t do mathematics overcome their barriers and succeed at something that has been holding them back,” he says.

Peter transferred to Reed from Caltech during his sophomore year, missing Hum 110 (to his regret). He was entranced by Reed’s mathematics department, however, particularly a course by **John Leadley** [1956–93] on modern algebra. Peter majored in mathematics and wrote his thesis on Henstock’s theory of integration, which is one of a number of definitions of the integral of a function.

Now Peter writes a blog, *Math For the Rest of Us,* and offers a tutoring service at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, especially tailored for adults who are uncomfortable with elementary mathematics. It is a one-man company and Peter is looking to expand.

Find the solution to the birthday puzzle—and many other fascinating mathematical conundra—at Peter's blog site.

## LATEST COMMENTS

steve-jobs-1976 I knew Steve Jobs when he was on the second floor of Quincy. (Fall...

Utnapishtim - 2 weeks ago

Prof. Mason Drukman [political science 1964–70] This is gold, pure gold. God bless, Prof. Drukman.

puredog - 1 month ago

virginia-davis-1965 Such a good friend & compatriot in the day of Satyricon...

czarchasm - 4 months ago

John Peara Baba 1990 John died of a broken heart from losing his mom and then his...

kodachrome - 7 months ago

Carol Sawyer 1962 Who wrote this obit? I'm writing something about Carol Sawyer...

MsLaurie Pepper - 8 months ago

William W. Wissman MAT 1969 ...and THREE sisters. Sabra, the oldest, Mary, the middle, and...

riclf - 10 months ago