Lander, WY – Wyoming Catholic College senior Ryan Alexander made international news this week when he announced and presented an “argument” during his senior oration for a statement on a mathematical theorem long thought impossible to prove. During a question and answer suggestion, Ryan, originally reticent over what he had found, was forced ultimately to admit he had “found a proof” for the conjecture, news of which immediately stunned the intellectual world. Dozens of scientists have convened since at WCC to learn more about Ryan’s discovery concerning this, the Collatz Conjecture, for which Ryan proved that all natural numbers, when iterated through a specific function, fall to 1.
Mathematicians have long struggled with this problem over the last century and some thought as with IIT staff researcher Hiram Beraris that “existing mathematics in itself isn’t enough to solve it”. So difficult and yet so addicting to those of mathematical minds, the problem even seemed to hard to be real to some as a leading researcher, Shizuo Kakutani, working on it remarked:
“For about a month everybody at Yale worked on it, with no result. A similar phenomenon happened when I mentioned it at the University of Chicago. It seems almost as part of a conspiracy to slow down mathematical research in the U.S.”Shizuo Kakutani
Here at WCC in the middle of so many conspiracies ourselves everyday, we can’t seem to say for certain if the conjecture’s life here, introduced by Ryan, was part of such a conspiracy, but his solving it has slown things down around here, we have to admit over the past week. Assembled scientists cram any available classroom space and are in near constant consultation with Ryan, Dr. Olsson, and Dr. Bolin as Ryan reproduces his work multiple time a day for shocked and incredulous scientists. Ordinary students are finding it harder to live and study around it all, but the attention is interesting and exciting. “It’s like Woodstock for Math Geeks around here,” says freshman Jacinta Rioux of Maine. “Everyone’s excited, WCC is in all the news and you can’t go outside your room without people excitedly talking about non-trivial cycles, parity sequencing, mod numbers, and rational iterative k-cycles.”
Fame has already led to ninety-five different graduate schools requesting Ryan Alexander come to them and an honorary membership for him in the Newton-Leibniz Modern Mathematical Studies Institute International. Ryan’s already now working on another famous unsolved mathematical problem, the solitary number hypothesis, but will need to solve it before July, for what he says are “personal reasons of fittingness”.