Math Club Launches Speaker Series with Professional Lockpicker Schuyler Towne

Schuyler Towne, professional lockpicker.

Schuyler Towne, professional lockpicker.

Anna Maria Barbiellini '17, Contributing Writer

This year, Montrose Math Club began its new speaker series, which invites guests to talk about the application of math in their daily lives and field of work. Earlier this year, we were excited to welcome our first speaker, Schuyler Towne. Schuyler was a professional competitive lockpicker and was a founding board member of the US chapter of The Open Organization of Lockpickers. He has also worked on projects conducting research on lock security, and he has even helped people develop a realistic lock-picking simulation which can be used to advance future lock research.


Towne described how some of the most frequently used mathematical applications in the lock industry were combinations and permutations. He also discussed how keys work and the geometry behind what what we take for granted as a simple, everyday tool.


Math Club member Sylvia Shi ’20 expressed how Schuyler made her realize that math is everywhere.  She said, “It is really fun to see how key-making can be related to math in some perspective.” Kiran Kottapalli ’18 added, “I thought Schuyler’s speech was really interesting. He related something so common like a house key to such complex mathematical problems. I was blown away by it all. I hope he can talk to us again soon!”


Everyone left this enjoyable talk with new knowledge and appreciation for math’s applications. To hear more about Montrose School’s Math Club Speaker Series for this year, check for us in the bulletin or come sit in on one of our Thursday meetings starting at 3:30.  Our next speaker will be coming this Thursday, the 9th, so don’t miss out!