The University of Michigan Combinatorics Seminar
A skew partition may be regarded as the Ferrers (or Young)
diagram of a partition of an integer n, with a smaller such diagram
removed from the upper left corner. A border strip is a skew partition
whose diagram is (rookwise) connected and contains no 2 x 2
square. Border strips first arose naturally in the Murnaghan-Nakayama
rule, which gives a combinatorial description of the values of the
irreducible characters of the symmetric group Sn.
We will discuss the
structure of the decompositions of a skew partition into a minimal
number of border strips. An application to the irreducible characters
of Sn will be included.
Most of the talk requires no knowledge of
symmetric functions or the symmetric group.