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Feature Story
reed magazine logoSpring 2009

Josh O’Rourke

  • Hometown: Moscow, Idaho
  • Adviser: Irena Swanson
  • Thesis: Frobenius Numbers of Numerical Semigroups Generated by Consecutive Squares
  • What it’s about: The frobenius number of a set of positive integers with gcd=1 is the largest integer that can’t be obtained by adding those set elements together. No general formula exists for the frobenius number of a set with three or more elements. I’m looking for a formula for sets of consecutive squares.
  • What it’s really about: It’s just as technical and arcane as I made it sound.
  • Cool stuff:Ultimate Frisbee. Soccer. Writing fictional adventures of Churchill and FDR in the Quest
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Random Thoughts: I love number theory because the problems are so simple to state but incredibly difficult to crack. At Reed, I feel like I’ve had the experience of going into the unknown. It’s really exciting…Reed showed me that I’m not the smartest person in the room, and that I can learn something from everyone…I never could have come here without financial aid.
reed magazine logoSpring 2009