Student Authors Prove Their Merit in the College Mathematics Journal

Released: 5-Mar-2014 9:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: Mathematical Association of America
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Newswise — The March 2014 issue of The College Mathematics Journal (CMJ) features the work of not one, not two, but 11 students—three high schoolers, six undergraduates, and two graduate students—and nothing but the mathematical merit of their work earned it the distinguished placement.

CMJ has published articles by student authors before. The November 2010 issue, for instance, included a paper, cowritten by three middle schoolers from different countries who collaborated via email, about a triangle of numbers whose initial rows match Pascal’s triangle but whose entries are computed using a different formula.

Of course the mathematicians who refereed “The Rascal Triangle” didn’t know that Alif Anggoro, Eddy Liu, and Angus Tulloch were scarcely teenagers. Thanks to the double-blind system the CMJ has used since 1989, those vetting the article didn’t even know the authors’ names.

In the letter from the editor that opens the March 2014 issue of the CMJ, Brian Hopkins notes that the journal’s anonymous system ensures that authors are on equal footing.

“Manuscripts from frequent contributors and novice researchers are treated the same way,” he writes. “For student authors, that means there are no ‘kid gloves.’ Referees are not informed of author education experience, so a published article written by a student has been accepted on the merits of the manuscript alone.”

So readers of, say, the March issue’s “A Proof for a Quadratic Function without Using Calculus,” by high schooler Connie Xu can rest assured that what they’re getting when they read The College Mathematics Journal is good math. They can also marvel at how young the makers of good math are these days.

The papers in the March CMJ that are authored or co-authored by students are as follows:


  • “Challenging Magic Squares for Magicians,” by Arthur T. Benjamin (Harvey Mudd College) and Ethan J. Brown (Phillips Academy Andover)
  • “Cookie Monster Devours Naccis,” by Leigh Marie Braswell (Phillips Exeter Academy) and Tanya Khovanova (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • “The Fastest Way Not to Run a Four-Minute Mile,” by Michael Bolt, Anthony Meyer, and Nicholas Visser (Calvin College)
  • “Power Series for Up-Down Min-Max Permutations,” by Fiacha Heneghan and T. Kyle Petersen (DePaul University)
  • “A Proof for a Quadratic Function without Using Calculus,” by Connie Xu (Montgomery Blair High School)
  • “A Single Family of Semigroups with Every Positive Rational Commuting Probability,” by Michelle Soule (University of Wisconsin)
  • “Truck Versus Human: Mathematics Under Pressure,” by Elizabeth Field, Rachael Ivison, Amanda Reyher, and Steven Warner (Southern Connecticut State University)

About The College Mathematics Journal: The College Mathematics Journal is designed to enhance classroom learning and stimulate thinking regarding undergraduate mathematics. It publishes articles, short Classroom Capsules, problems, solutions, media reviews, and other pieces. All are aimed at the college mathematics curriculum with emphasis on topics taught in the first two years. The MAA publishes five issues of the CMJ per year.

About MAA: The Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Formed in 1915, the association members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists; statisticians; and many others in academia, government, business, and industry who are interested in the mathematical sciences.


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