### A Macdonald Vertex Operator and Standard Tableaux Statistics

#### Abstract

The two parameter family of coefficients $K_{\lambda \mu}(q,t)$ introduced by Macdonald are conjectured to $(q,t)$ count the standard tableaux of shape $\lambda $. If this conjecture is correct, then there exist statistics $a_\mu(T)$ and $b_\mu(T)$ such that the family of symmetric functions $H_\mu[X;q,t] = \sum_\lambda K_{\lambda \mu}(q,t) s_\lambda [X]$ are generating functions for the standard tableaux of size $|\mu|$ in the sense that $H_\mu[X;q,t] = \sum_{T} q^{a_\mu(T)} t^{b_\mu(T)} s_{\lambda (T)}[X]$ where the sum is over standard tableau of of size $|\mu|$. We give a formula for a symmetric function operator $H_2^{qt}$ with the property that $H_2^{qt} H_{(2^a1^b)}[X;q,t]= H_{(2^{a+1}1^b)}[X;q,t]$. This operator has a combinatorial action on the Schur function basis. We use this Schur function action to show by induction that $H_{(2^a1^b)}[X;q,t]$ is the generating function for standard tableaux of size $2a+b$ (and hence that $K_{\lambda (2^a1^b)}(q,t)$ is a polynomial with non-negative integer coefficients). The inductive proof gives an algorithm for 'building' the standard tableaux of size $n+2$ from the standard tableaux of size $n$ and divides the standard tableaux into classes that are generalizations of the catabolism type. We show that reversing this construction gives the statistics $a_\mu(T)$ and $b_\mu(T)$ when $\mu$ is of the form $(2^a1^b)$ and that these statistics prove conjectures about the relationship between adjacent rows of the $(q,t)$-Kostka matrix that were suggested by Lynne Butler.