Jonathan Jedwab, professor of mathematics

Faculty and Staff

Joy is: solving problems and puzzles with mathematics

April 13, 2017
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Mathematics professor Jonathan Jedwab considers himself fortunate to be paid for doing what he loves best.

Fascinated by numbers and puzzles, he loves the simplicity of combinatorics. In this area of mathematics, problems are very easy to state, and typically have a low barrier to entry because you don't need to know a lot of advanced mathematics to get started.

Yet the problems are often deceptively simple, requiring complex mathematical tools to find a solution.

And that's the attraction, says Jedwab, who applied his mathematics skills in industry before joining SFU 14 years ago.

What began for him as mathematical problem-solving in digital technologies has since evolved into a prolific research program at SFU that tackles problems across all facets of science. These problems range from determining the most stable way an RNA molecule sequence can fold in three dimensions, to finding a way to communicate securely using the principles of quantum mechanics.

Learn more about Jedwab and his research and teaching in this Q&A.