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We consider an operator of Bernstein for symmetric functions, and give an explicit formula for its action on an arbitrary Schur function. This formula is given in a remarkably simple form when written in terms of some notation based on the code of a partition. As an application, we give a new and very simple proof of a classical result for the KP hierarchy, which involves the Plucker relations for Schur function coefficients in a tau function for the hierarchy. This proof is especially compactarXiv:0902.4441v1 fatcat:gbcjioadrvam3ctorcd6heknvi