In number theory, a Durfee square is an attribute of an integer partition. A partition of n has a Durfee square of side s if s is the largest number such that the partition contains at least s parts with values ≥ s. An equivalent, but more visual, definition is that the Durfee square is the largest square that is contained within a partition's Ferrers diagram. The side-length of the Durfee square is known as the rank of the partition.
The Durfee symbol consists of the two partitions represented by the points to the right or below the Durfee square.
The partition 4 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1:
has a Durfee square of side 3 (in red) because it contains 3 parts that are ≥ 3, but does not contain 4 parts that are ≥ 4. Its Durfee symbol consists of the 2 partitions 1 and 3+1.
"Durfee's square is a great invention of the importance of which its author has no conception."
It is clear from the visual definition that the Durfee square of a partition and its conjugate partition have the same size. The partitions of an integer n contain Durfee squares with sides up to and including .
- Andrews, George E.; Eriksson, Kimmo (2004). Integer Partitions. Cambridge University Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-521-60090-1.
- Weisstein, Eric W. "Durfee Square". MathWorld.
- Stanley, Richard P. (1999) Enumerative Combinatorics, Volume 2, p. 289. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56069-1.
- Parshall, Karen Hunger (1998). James Joseph Sylvester: life and work in letters. Oxford University Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-19-850391-1.