Student solves a 30 year old mathematics problem

November 16, 2005

UQ postgraduate student Daniel Horsley has solved a mathematics problem that has defied experts around the world for more than 30 years.

The problem is in a field of mathematics known as combinatorial design theory and its solution has been described by researchers in the area as a major breakthrough.

Daniel worked with his supervisor Dr Darryn Bryant on the problem, known as Lindner`s conjecture on embeddings of partial Steiner triple systems.

Dr Bryant said the problem was first posed in the 1970s by Professor Curt Lindner of Auburn University, USA.

“The problem has confounded leading international combinatorial mathematics experts for many years and for Daniel to have found a solution to such a famous problem whilst studying for his PhD is an amazing achievement.

"Daniel is one of several extremely talented Queensland-educated mathematics students undertaking world-class research at The University of Queensland, where combinatorial mathematics has been an area of strength for many years."

The study of Steiner triple systems dates back to the mid 1800s following the publication of a landmark paper by church rector Reverend Thomas P. Kirkman. They are used in scientific areas such as biological screening and computer error correction.

Daniel Horsley is in the second year of his PhD degree at The University of Queensland. He attended Brisbane Boys' College in Toowong and lives with his family in the Brisbane suburb of Corinda.

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: Research team leverage cells' noisy nature to keep them healthy

Related Stories

Biophysicists take small step in quest for 'robot scientist'

August 25, 2015

Biophysicists have taken another small step forward in the quest for an automated method to infer models describing a system's dynamics - a so-called robot scientist. Nature Communications published the finding - a practical ...

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.