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Mathematics Faculty Receive $2.5 Million Grant to Advance Education in Geometry and Topology

Mathematics Faculty Receive $2.5 Million Grant to Advance Education in Geometry and Topology

The award will enhance the training of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers.

AUSTIN, Texas - Thirteen faculty members in the Department of Mathematics have been awarded a new, highly competitive, Research Training Group (RTG) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Over a five year span, the award will provide $2.5 million to enhance the training of undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the areas of geometry and topology.

"These funds play a vital role in our ongoing efforts to continue the department's rise in the national rankings," said Alan Reid, chair of the department. "It allows us to compete for the very best graduate students and postdocs in geometry and topology. It also impacts undergraduate instruction, as well as widening our exposure in the community from outreach activities."

Geometry, the study of space, has long had connections with and applications to the real world. Topology investigates global geometric properties of spaces which do not rely on local structure. Research in the two fields plays a significant role in advancing technologies in navigation, computer graphics, data analysis and signal processing. The large scale structures studied in topology also appear in biological and physical science.

“Effective training of the next generation of geometers and topologists is vital for the continued development of these ideas, both within mathematics and for external applications,” said Christopher Stark, program director for the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the NSF.

The award is intended to build on the successes of two RTGs which were awarded to the department in 2007. Many of the activities have a strong web presence, so will influence students and researchers far beyond The University of Texas at Austin.

The new RTG will build on the great success of the UT Undergraduate Mathematics Club by adding a directed reading program that will pair undergraduate students with graduate mentors. Other continuing programs include public lectures, the "Perspectives in Geometry and Topology" lecture series, a visitor program, and a graduate literature class.

New initiatives include a novel "first cut" lecture series to introduce core topics in geometry and topology; a weekly journal seminar for all geometry/topology graduate students; a new yearly undergraduate mathematics conference; and a new series of graduate "winter schools" for graduate students and postdocs from around the United States and beyond.

Professor Dan Freed is the principal investigator on the project. Associate professor Dan Knopf and professor Alan Reid are the co-principal investigators. The grant includes ten other faculty members: Daniel Allcock, David Ben-Zvi, Andrew Blumberg, Cameron Gordon, Sean Keel, John Luecke, Andy Neitzke, Hossein Namazi, Tim Perutz and Lorenzo Sadun.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

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