Photo of Rafe Jones

Rafe Jones

Associate Professor of Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics

Education & Professional History

Amherst College, BA; Brown University, PhD

Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, Visiting student 1998-1999.

Post-doc, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005-2008.

Assistant professor, College of the Holy Cross, 2008-2012.


At Carleton since 2012.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Math has motivated me since I was young — I love its structure, its elegance, its counterintuitive conclusions, and above all the creative turns that lead to the resolution of a stubborn problem. I love both thinking about math and talking about math, so being a mathematician at Carleton is basically a dream job for me. In my research, I study numbers and their generalizations, particularly those that arise from the process of iteration. As one example: start with the number 1, square it, then add 1. Do this over and over again to get a sequence that goes 1, 2, 5, 26, and so on. Sample question: in this infinite sequence, how many of the numbers are prime? I wish I could tell you the answer, but no one knows it. Many other similarly tantalizing questions arise in my research, and most are still unsolved. There are lots of opportunities for new investigations, and research projects involving both student and faculty collaborators.

I also really love writing in general, and especially writing about math. I’ve written expository articles and book reviews for mathematically-inclined audiences, and more recently I’ve started writing for the general public — see links below to op-eds that were published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Current Courses

  • Fall 2020
    MATH 232: Linear Algebra
  •  
    MATH 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Winter 2021
    MATH 120: Calculus 2
  •  
    MATH 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Spring 2021
    MATH 232: Linear Algebra
  •  
    MATH 331: Real Analysis II
  • Fall 2021
    MATH 120: Calculus 2
  •  
    MATH 321: Real Analysis I
  • Winter 2022
    MATH 232: Linear Algebra
  •  
    MATH 331: Real Analysis II
  • Spring 2022
    MATH 232: Linear Algebra