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Flowers to Present on Counting Plane Partitions

Posted on 12/1/2011 7:24:23 PM

Dr. Timothy Flowers will present a Mathematics Department colloquium entitled “Counting Plane Partitions” on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, from 4:00–5:00 p.m. is Stright Hall, room 327.

This talk is intended to be accessible to those without a background in combinatorics. Students are encouraged to attend.


Thirty years ago, three mathematicians made a conjecture for counting the number of n x n alternating sign matrices. Then they discovered that someone else already had seen those same numbers—but he had been counting a certain type of restricted plane partition. In the years since, many proofs and results have been found in each of these seemingly unconnected fields. We will follow the story of the conjectures, theorems, and proofs, including the surprising twist in 1996.