Exploring and Discovering Mathematics through Puzzles

Sarah Flannery

First year Cambridge University student Sarah Flannery is the co-author of IN CODE: A Mathematical Journey. After winning numerous scientific awards for her Cayley-Purser algorithm, an algorithm that had the possibility to encode information on the Internet thirty-three times faster than previously thought possible, Sarah was approached by Profile Books to tell her story. Teaming up with her father and mentor, David Flannery, Sarah was determined to produce a book that would interest even the most math-phobic people and spread her passion for puzzles.

Following her research and explorations into the RSA public key encryption system, Sarah entered the 1998 Irish Young Scientist Exhibition where she received the prize for Individual Intermediate Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Sarah was also chosen to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). At ISEF, Sarah was awarded a third-place Karl Menger Memorial Award from the American Mathematical Society and a fourth-place Grand Award in Mathematics. She also won the prestigious $2000 Intel Fellows Achievement Awards. After reworking her original project, Sarah entered Ireland's Young Scientist Award in 1999 with a project entitled "Cryptography-A New Algorithm Versus the RSA." Sarah was just sixteen when she began her Cayley-Purser algorithm. Thanks to her new code, she won Young Scientist of the Year and subsequently the European Union Young Scientist.

Sarah has appeared on 48 Hours, and has been featured in The London Times and The Daily Telegraph, among others. She has lectured at schools throughout the world as well as at the IBM Europe, Middle East and Asia's conference on "Women and Technology in the New Millennium." She lives with her family in Blarney, County Cork, Ireland. She enjoys "football" and horses and the puzzles her father left on the kitchen blackboard for her and her four younger brothers. IN CODE is her first book.