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(Thanks to Konstantina Kourkouli, age 12, for providing the idea and suggestions for this story.)
Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Cylindra Ella, who, after finishing her undergraduate studies in medieval folklore, decided to switch directions and go to graduate school in mathematics. Because of her lack of background, she was turned down by all the schools to which she applied except for Central Western University, which is located in the central western portion of a state of which you have never heard.
But she was happy to be going at all, so she packed her bags and arrived full of anticipation for the adventure to come. She did well in her classes, and easily passed her qualifying exams. Now it was time to find an advisor. She attended various seminars, but nothing tickled her fancy, until one day, she happened upon a talk on Farey sequences. It was fascinating. After the talk concluded, she asked another student, “Who was that speaker?”
“Oh, that was Andrea Finkel,”...