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Dan Khum ’24, Henry Gussler ’24 win Will D. Znutz mathematics prize for revolutionary ‘Khum-Gussler algorithm’

fine hall Candace Do DP.jpg
Fine Hall
Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian

The following content is purely satirical and entirely fictional.

On Tuesday, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) jointly awarded its prestigious Will D. Znutz Undergraduate Research Prize to Princeton students Dan Khum ’24 and Henry Gussler ’24. The two math majors developed the aptly named “Khum-Gussler algorithm” — a significant achievement in the field of algebraic topology. 


“This prize recognizes Will D. Znutz’s contribution to spreading seeds of knowledge across the academic world,” reads the announcement on the AMS website. “These two up-and-coming mathematicians embody this spirit in their thirst for knowledge and penetrative thinking.”

The Daily PrintsAnything spoke with Khum and Gussler about the prize and asked for a layman’s explanation of their algorithm. “Imagine you have two oblate spheroids on either side of a cylindrical manifold,” said Gussler while using his hands to demonstrate. “Our algorithm synthesizes both the hairy ball theorem and classical Wiener spaces to address some of algebraic topology’s biggest and hardest problems.”

To celebrate the achievement, the math department hosted a ceremony for the pair in Wood Auditorium on Tuesday. In their remarks, Khum and Gussler paid tribute to their heroes David Cox and Steven Zucker, who met as University graduate students and published their work on the “Cox-Zucker machine” in 1979.

“Our Khum-Gussler algorithm might not live up to the legacy of the Cox-Zucker machine, but we’ve definitely helped fill a gaping hole in mathematical research,” added Gussler. 

Khum and Gussler plan to continue their careers in mathematics as quantitative analysts at Siemens Financial Services.

Michael Hwang is a junior studying MAE and a staff Humor writer for the ‘Prince.’ He apologizes to any math majors reading this article.