March 31, 2011: Breaking up is hard to do: Investigations in integer partitions

February 20th, 2011 by Dana Ernst

Title: Breaking up is hard to do: Investigations in integer partitions

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011

Location: Hyde 349

Time: 4:00-5:00PM (Pizza at 3:30PM in Hyde 349)

Speaker: Andrew Schultz (Wellesley College)

Abstract: One of the early mathematical puzzles you might have been asked as a child is to think of all the ways you can add up numbers to get 4.  Of course 2+2=4 is famous, but most children familiar with addition will also be able to tell you that 4 can be expressed as 1+1+2,  1+1+1+1, or 1+3.  If we throw in the less-than-thrilling equality 4=4, this gives us a total of 5 ways to write 4 as a sum of positive numbers.  Listing the number of ways to write 100 as a sum of positive integers will take you a little longer: there are almost 200 million different possibilities.

The function p(n) is the function which keeps count of the number of ways of writing an integer n as a sum of positive integers, and mathematicians have long been interested in its properties.  In this talk we will discuss a number of very interesting results for this seemingly straightforward function, and along the way we will meet some of the greatest mathematical minds in history.

Featured in Plymouth Magazine

Example Image

PSU Collaboration Leads to Emmy

When Trish Lindberg was a 17-year-old musician, artist, and actor, her mother—a teacher herself—told her she would make a great teacher. Lindberg looked her mother right in the eye and said, “I will never be a teacher!” Mother Knows Best Decades later, Lindberg, now a Carnegie Foundation NH Professor of the Year, a recipient of […]

Example Image

Teaming Up for Service

There’s more to PSU’s student-athletes than excellent grades and athletic prowess. There’s a desire to make a difference in the world. Plymouth State men’s hockey coach Craig Russell ’09 encourages his team to serve as often as possible. Through the nonprofit organization Team IMPACT, which pairs children with life-threatening or chronic illness with local college […]