Fibonacci, OH - A 3rd-grader from Fibonacci, Ohio has solved a mathematical concept that has perplexed mathematicians for centuries. Nine year old Samantha Integral was doing her homework when she overheard her mother talking on the telephone. She heard her mother use the phrase "six of one, half a dozen of the other." Intrigued, Samantha searched the phrase on the internet and discovered that despite its extremely common use in everyday language over many centuries, the concept behind the phrase remained unproven. Said Samantha "I've heard people use the phrase but I'd never really thought about it. I hadn't stopped and really thought about what the saying meant. When I did a search on the internet about the phrase I discovered that it was a very old math problem that was supposed to mean that there was no difference between two alternatives. For some reason I just decided to work on it."
Samantha then took out a piece of paper and went to work.
Esteemed mathematicians from around the world were amazed at the elegance of the solution. Said one "The girl's proof was amazingly elegant and simple. It was beautiful, simple awesome.
Ms. Integral agreed to try to explain her solution in relatively simple terms so this reporter, and my non-math-expert readers, could perhaps grasp at least an inkling of her work."
Samantha said "Mom lets me have some trail mix as a snack while I do my homework. So, I picked out a dozen M&Ms and put them on the table. I split the M&Ms into two equal groups of six each. Then I took out six peanuts and laid them on the table. I was very careful to count the ones in each pile. When I was totally sure that one pile had half a dozen, and the other pile had six, I compared the two piles. They both had the same number! That proved that six of one really was equal to half a dozen of another. At least with M&Ms and peanuts."
Samantha's proof will be featured in next month's Scientific American. She has also been promised a full-ride scholarship to MIT once she completes high school.