24 February 2009

Richard Stanley tells a joke

In the graduate course Richard Stanley is currently teaching, on symmetric functions (also known as "the chapter of Stanley that I haven't really read that carefully", which is indeed the text he's using), students have two options for an end-of-term paper. They can either hand in "a treatise of at least 200 pages on some area of symmetric functions, consisting primarily of original work" which "must contain (correct) proofs of at least two important, longstanding open problems" or an eight-page expository paper.

Somehow I think nobody will choose the first option. (Although if they do, that would be an instant PhD thesis.)

Possibly also of interest: Stanley is working on a second edition of Enumerative Combinatorics, Volume 1, and a draft version of Chapter 1 is available (198-page PDF) This appears to be a substantial extension of Chapter 1 of the original.

7 comments:

unapologetic said...

As long as it doesn't include "and the copyright to same."

Zygmund said...

And even PhD theses aren't usually 200 pages, right?
Just curious- are there actual
(graduate, presumably) courses where original work is required? In those cases, do you get the problem from the teacher?

Michael Lugo said...

John, I believe copyright on work done for courses belongs to the student. (I'm not a lawyer, though, and a quick Google isn't helping.) Besides, Stanley is well-known enough for his own work that he doesn't need to go around stealing the work of students in his courses.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, Michael. You really didn't get Johns point. Think again.

unapologetic said...

Yes, by default it would belong to the student. I meant, as long as the stated course requirements didn't include that clause.

And I wasn't seriously suggesting he would add that. If I come by Penn next month, I'll have to introduce you to this newfangled thing called a joke ;)

Michael Lugo said...

John, I know what jokes are! See the subject line of this post.

David Speyer said...

A while ago, I took a graduate complex analysis course from Ilia Binder. The our final exam was a take home exam with five problems. He told us that we only needed to solve four of the problems for full credit, which seemed very generous. Then he told us that one of the five was an open problem, and he wouldn't say which...

As far as I heard, no one got the open problem. I'm not sure that any of us got all of the other four, either.