About the College
Math professors awarded Simons Fellowships
Professor Gregory J. Galloway, chair of the Department of Mathematics, and Professor Michelle Wachs Galloway, also of mathematics and a Cooper Fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences, have been named Simons Fellows in 2013.
The fellowship is named for Jim Simons, a mathematician who founded Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds that operates based on mathematical and computer models. Awarded through his Simons Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing math and science research, the Simons Fellowship extends the professors’ semester research sabbatical into a year-long period of study.
“This is only the second year of the Simons Fellowship, but already it has been awarded to some of the best mathematicians at the top universities in the world,” Galloway said. “Very few schools have more than one recipient. It was a big surprise, and quite an honor for both of us to be selected.”
In 2013, both professors will spend a portion of their fellowships in Berkeley, California. Galloway is an organizer of a semester-long program on mathematical relativity at Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), and will serve there as an Eisenbud Professor in the fall. In the spring, he will join the Gravitational Physics group at the University of Vienna, Austria as a visiting scholar. Wachs will be a visiting scholar in the University of California, Berkeley’s mathematics department, where she will continue her research in algebraic combinatorics.
“Some of the problems that you work on as a mathematician really require time to focus intensely on them,” Wachs said. “Not only will this fellowship give us an opportunity for intensive research, but we’ll also be working among the leading figures in our fields.”
Galloway’s research focuses on the interface of differential geometry and General Relativity, Einstein’s geometric theory of gravity. Most recently, he has studied the properties of marginally trapped surfaces, which signal the onset of gravitational collapse and the formation of a black hole.
Wachs’s fellowship will support her research in algebraic combinatorics, which seeks to develop connections between combinatorics (the science of counting, arranging and analyzing concrete discrete configurations) and fields of pure mathematics that involve sophisticated abstract algebraic structures. “The discrete configurations that are studied in combinatorics arise in various fields of mathematics, computer science, physics, biology and engineering; DNA sequences, phylogenetic trees, and communications networks are all examples of discrete configurations,” she said. “Combinatorial methods are playing an increasing role in these fields.”
Two graduate students also will work with the professors on their research. Carlos Vega will work with Galloway as a post-doc, and Rafael S. González D'león will work with Wachs.
January 29, 2013