Alex Smith '11 Presents Math Research

February 10, 2011

Recently, VI Former Alex Smith gave a one-hour presentation of his latest mathematical research at an event hosted by the St. Mark's Institute of Mathematics.

Inspired by a Math Institute “Puzzler” from six years ago, one on counting the number of arrangements of numbers among a fixed string of inequality signs, Alex has been working over the years to understand the general nature of such permutation problems. Recently Alex had an astounding breakthrough, finding that the average count of solutions is directly related to patterns produced in folding a strip of paper.

“Alex’s research is truly remarkable and worthy of publication,” commented St. Mark’s Institute of Mathematics Founder James Tanton. “Furthermore, Alex is continuing to work on the issue by attempting to establish his stronger claim that paper-folding patterns are the *only* average permutations.”

The Math Institute newsletter that inspired Alex's work and an outline of his results will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming St. Mark's Math Institute book.