Math Murder Mystery Solved!

Top and center: Moravian's Sargeant Patino announces the crime and seven suspects, all from the Math Department. Almost two hours later, the winning team of Professor Matt Lang, Jason Ginther '11, Becky Kolacki '10, and Melanie Lang identify the "murderer," Professor Ben Coleman.

Who "killed" Kay Somers, chair of the Math Department, on the afternoon of April 9? Could it have been Professor Sevilla? (That innocent look could be an act.) Or was it Professor Fraboni? He did seem testy recently, said students.

For the Math Society's first "Math Murder Mystery Game," Moravian mathematicians and friends unraveled math problems, solved puzzles, and followed clues around campus to determine who perpetrated the crime. Sargeant Patino began the investigation by announcing the murder and declaring all seven Math Department faculty members "persons of interest."

Solving successive puzzles and problems provided clues that led sleuths to a new puzzle in one of seven locations, such as PPHAC, Comenius Hall, Reeves Library, and Collier Hall. Each clue was accompanied by a handwritten note from one of the seven faculty members—"some were true statements, others were false," explained Kevin Hartshorn, assistant professor of mathematics and math society chair.

A team that included Rebecca Kolacki '10, Jason Ginther '11, Matt Lang, assistant professor of computer science, Melanie Lang, and Ben Coleman, associate professor of computer science, was the first to correctly identify the "murderer"—Professor Ben Coleman.

Phill Gaudreau '10 and Brian Hunscher '11 planned and pulled off the event. "Faculty members knew nothing about it beforehand," said Professor Hartshorn. "When I saw that Phill and Brian were doing the right things—gathering props, testing problems—I decided to just let them run with it.

"Events like these show that math is fun, and that it can be social," he added. "They foster camaraderie and interaction between faculty members and students."

Math alumni Patrick Sutton '09 and Kelly LaTourette '08 (both local math teachers) also returned to campus to take part in the game.

P.S. Professor Kay Somers has recovered fully and looks forward to giving final exams.