Conway Prize

The London Institute is establishing an annual prize of £500 for the best short paper in theoretical research written by one of its members.

The record for the shortest paper in mathematics belongs to Conway and Soifer. In 2005, they published a paper in The American Mathematical Monthly containing just two words and two figures. The title posed a question about the number of unit equilateral triangles required to cover a larger equilateral triangle of side n + ε. The paper reads “n² + 2 can”.

There’s a rare satisfaction in reading an entire research paper in minutes. But apart from reminding readers of the joy of insight, making a paper as short as possible encourages authors to find the most economical proof or argument. Concision and elegance go hand in hand. Short papers can also have an exceptionally high impact. The 1949 paper that set in motion the field of game theory was just a single page, and ultimately won Nash the Nobel Prize.

We are establishing the Conway Prize for the best short paper written by a member of the London Institute. It’s an annual prize of £500, awarded at the end of the year. The only condition is that the paper be published in a peer-reviewed journal and be under two pages (in the format of an APS journal).