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Alumni News Post

Sofia Flynn Speaks at DeMatha Conference on Prime Numbers
Sofia Flynn Speaks at DeMatha Conference on Prime Numbers

Sofia Flynn's, OLGC Class of 2015, dream is to become a mathematician. For now, she continues to not only explore the boundless possibilities of prime numbers, but also to share that passion and knowledge with others. To learn more about RSA encryption, check out her series of educational YouTube videos or her newest app, Learn RSA, which was just named an App of the Month by MIT App Inventor.

Sofia Flynn, OLGC Class of 2015 is passionate about prime numbers (her favorites are 53 and 61). For those of you rusty on your mathematics terms, a prime number is a natural number greater than one that has no positive divisors other than one and itself. On Tuesday, December 5, Sofia, a junior at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory, participated in a roundtable discussion at DeMatha as part of their year-long celebration of prime numbers).

Sofia discovered her love of these lonely integers her freshman year while taking a geometry class with Dr. Mickey Kolpak. For one of her quarterly research projects, Sofia chose encryption as her topic and became engrossed in the work of Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. Together, these three discovered the algorithm that now bears their initials, RSA, and is used to encrypt most data today. At the heart of their work is the simple concept that it is very difficult to factor large semi-prime numbers, which result when you multiply two large prime numbers.

Sofia was intrigued and excited that such a simple observation could lead to the creation of a system that is used around the world today, by business and governments alike, to encrypt data. Her fascination inspired her to create an app "capable of generating values of public and private keys as well as encrypting and decrypting cipher text messages based on two prime number inputs using the foundational principles of asymmetric key RSA encryption." Working with science teacher Quillian Haralson, Sofia learned to code and created the app, which earned her recognition as a regional winner in the DC STEM Science Fair her sophomore year.

Sofia's dream is to become a mathematician. For now, she continues to not only explore the boundless possibilities of prime numbers, but also to share that passion and knowledge with others. To learn more about RSA encryption, check out her series of educational YouTube videos or her newest app, Learn RSA, which was just named an App of the Month by MIT App Inventor.

Link to video of DeMatha Conference.

The above information was posted on Visitation's Website