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Notable 2013 Death: Elvis the Calculus Dog

July 2013 brought the death, at age 13, of Elvis, a Welsh corgi famous for doing calculus.

Elvis first garnered public attention in 2003, when his human companion, mathematician Timothy Pennings, published an article in the College Mathematics Journal (CMJ) explaining how the dog apparently solved a calculus problem each time he fetched a ball thrown from a sandy beach into the water. A follow-up paper—"Do Dogs Know Bifurcations?"—won the Pólya Award in 2008.

As news coverage of Elvis's passing noted:

It wasn’t that Elvis was doing anything special, more that his owner was a math professor who could use the example to explain the application of calculus in everyday life.

Elvis has reportedly exemplified calculus in action in textbooks worldwide, and he and Pennings gave 20 math talks in his last year alone.

For more on Elvis, read the Mathematical Tourist post about him.

Start Date: 
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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