Rafe Jones
Professor of Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics
Education & Professional History
Amherst College, BA; Brown University, PhD
Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, Visiting student 19981999.
Postdoc, University of WisconsinMadison, 20052008.
Assistant professor, College of the Holy Cross, 20082012.
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 mathematicallyinclined audiences, and more recently I’ve started writing for the general public — see links below to opeds that were published in the Minneapolis StarTribune.
Current Courses

Fall 2024
MATH 120: Calculus 2

MATH 297: Assessment and Communication of External Mathematical Activity

MATH 399: Senior Seminar

STAT 297: Assessment and Communication of External Statistical Activity

Winter 2025
MATH 232: Linear Algebra

MATH 297: Assessment and Communication of External Mathematical Activity

STAT 297: Assessment and Communication of External Statistical Activity

Spring 2025
MATH 297: Assessment and Communication of External Mathematical Activity

MATH 342: Abstract Algebra I

STAT 297: Assessment and Communication of External Statistical Activity