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Professor Claudia Miller Awarded Simons Laufer Mathematical Sciences Institute Research Professorship
Claudia Miller, professor in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), has been selected for a prestigious research professorship at the Simons Laufer Mathematical Sciences Institute (SLMath) in Berkeley, California. She will work on-site at the institute during the Spring 2024 semester.
SLMath awards a small number of research professorships at the November meeting of its Scientific Advisory Committee. The intensive program is reserved for distinguished mathematicians to collaborate on cutting-edge topics. She will participate in seminars and workshops, exchange ideas with other researchers in residence and mentor postdoctoral fellows.
“I will use this time to develop research in new directions,” says Miller, who has taught at Syracuse University since 2003. “I hope to work with people I’ve not had the chance to work with before, including a new generation of postdocs. We will explore projects in which people have slightly different approaches, and because we are all in one place, we can work closely with each other.”
Miller says she will focus on research questions that play critical roles in many parts of algebra and geometry. “For years, scholars have tried to use algebra to study questions from geometry,” she says. “There are still fundamental questions that are not yet understood.”
She plans to use algebra to explore singularities in geometry. A singularity is a sharp point in an otherwise smooth curve, surface or higher dimensional object studied abstractly in mathematics with applications to physical systems.
“Highly complex numbers or abstract structures are easier to understand when they are smooth, and singularities present all kinds of complexities,” she says. “Algebra can help us understand how to measure how extreme a singularity is or how far it is from being smooth.”
The program offers Miller an opportunity to mentor young scientists and learn from them.
“I will mentor postdocs about navigating things that come up in an academic career, such as how to develop your own research program and find good collaborators and also how to focus on research topics that are the most relevant and important in your field,” she says. “But I also expect to learn from postdocs because they’re young and have new ideas. I want to bring back those ideas and hot topics to Syracuse to benefit colleagues and students here.”
“We are very proud of Professor Miller for receiving this significant honor,” says Graham Leuschke, mathematics professor and department chair. “It reflects the high quality of her research achievements and her extensive successes as a mentor. This experience will enable her to expand her network of collaborators and will lead to new research opportunities for Syracuse students, which is very exciting.”
SLMath, founded in 1982, is a landmark of U.S. and world collaborative mathematical research. Over 1,700 mathematical scientists visit the headquarters each year. SLMath has been supported since its origin by the National Science Foundation, now joined by other government agencies, private foundations, corporations, individual donors and over 100 academic institutions.
Story by John H. Tibbetts