# MIT Mathematics Homepage

## Latest News

### Shaoyun Bai, Jacopo Borga, and Christoph Kehle Join Faculty

The Department welcomes three assistant professors as of July 1: Shaoyun Bai, Jacopo Borga, and Christoph Kehle.

Shaoyun specializes in symplectic topology and is interested in problems interacting with neighboring fields. After receiving his PhD from Princeton University under the supervision of John Pardon, Shaoyun held short-term visiting positions at MSRI (now SLMath) and the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. Most recently he was the Ritt Assistant Professor at Columbia University.

Previously the Szegö Assistant Professor at Stanford, Jacopo is interested in probability theory and its connections to combinatorics and mathematical physics. Jacopo received his PhD in Mathematics from the Institut für Mathematik of the Universität Zürich, under the supervision of Valentin Feŕay and Mathilde Bouvel. In 2022, he received the Bernoulli Society New Researcher Award, and in 2023, the Bruno de Finetti Award.

Christoph is interested in analysis, partial differential equations, and general relativity, with recent research focused on the formation and dynamics of black holes. After receiving his PhD in 2020 from the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Mihalis Dafermos, Christoph was a member of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study and a junior fellow at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Theoretical Studies.

Please welcome Christoph, Jacopo, and Shaoyun!

### Rupert Li Awarded Hertz Fellowship

Rupert Li ’24 was among 10 MIT-affiliated students who received the prestigious Hertz Foundation fellowship, which provides funding for doctoral studies.

Rupert received degrees at MIT in mathematics as well as computer science, data science, and economics, with a minor in business analytics. He was named a 2024 Marshall Scholar and will study abroad for a year at Cambridge University before matriculating at Stanford University for a mathematics doctorate.

As an undergraduate, Li authored 12 math research articles in combinatorics, discrete geometry, probability, and harmonic analysis.

Congratulations, Rupert!

### Congratulations to All of Our Graduates!

**Sept 2023 PhDs:**

- Jackson Hance
- Chen Lu
- Felipe Suarez
- Sarah Tammen
- Roger Van Peski
- Adela Zhang

**May 2024 PhDs:**

- Julius Baldauf
- Adam Block
- Murilo Corato Zanarella
- Gefei Dang
- Patrik Gerber
- Shashi Gowda
- Alasdair Hastewell
- Arun Kannan
- Daniil Kliuev
- Vasily Krylov
- Jae Hee Lee
- Ishan Levy
- Calder Morton-Ferguson
- Matthew Nicoletti
- Alexander Ortiz
- Ashwin Sah
- Mehtaab Sawhney
- George Stepaniants
- Pu Yu
- Danielle Wang
- Catherine Wolfram

Read their 2024 Graduate Thesis Defenses.

Where they’re going:

- Academic postings include Caltech, Clay Mathematical Institute, Columbia, Harvard, John Hopkins, Northwestern, NSF, NYU, Rice University, Stanford, U. Oklahoma, UC Berkeley, and Yale
- Industry placements include Citadel Securities, DE Shaw Group, and Microsoft

Congratulations also to this academic year's 193 new SB recipients, which includes 178 May graduates, and 15 in February.

The mathematics major continues to be one of the largest at MIT — we have seen significant increases in declared math majors and minors as well as class enrollment in our subjects. Before commencement, we counted 513 declared math majors.

Congratulations!

### George Lusztig Receives Gold Medal

Abdun-Nur Professor of Mathematics George Lusztig received a gold medal from the West University of Timișoara in Romania. George was born and raised in Timișoara. This Honorary Distinction for Excellence is given to international personalities for excellence in various fields.

Felicitări, George!

### PRIMES and RSI Students Awarded at Regeneron

Ten PRIMES and RSI high school seniors won awards at the 2024 Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition, and three PRIMES students won awards at the **2024 Regeneron ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair)**.

At ISEF, PRIMES student Michelle Wei won the Young Scientist Award ($50,000 scholarship) and the First Grand Award in the Systems Software category. Her project, “Solving Second-Order Cone Programs in Matrix Multiplication Time,” was mentored by Guanghao Ye.

**Joseph Vulakh** won a Fourth Grand Award in the Mathematics category, as well as the NSA Research Directorate Second Place Award and an Honorable Mention from the AMS. His project, “Twisted Homogeneous Racks Over the Alternating Groups,” was mentored by Prof. Julia Plavnik and Dr. Héctor Peña Pollastri of Indiana University Bloomington. Joseph is coming to MIT as an undergraduate in the fall.

**Jason Mao** has won the Mu Alpha Theta Second Award for his project “Factorization Properties of Puiseux Monoids,” mentored by SHSU Prof. Scott Chapman and our postdoc Felix Gotti.

At the talent search competition, Michelle won 3rd Place ($150,000 scholarship) for her project “Solving Second-Order Cone Programs Deterministically in Matrix Multiplication Time,” mentored by EECS’ Guanghao Ye.

PRIMES and RSI student Alan Bu earned 10th Place ($40,000) for his RSI project, “On the Maximum Number of Spanning Trees in a Planar Graph with a Fixed Number of Edges: A Linear-Algebraic Connection,” mentored by Yuchong Pan. Each of them took prizes for math projects that finished within the top ten spots. Another PRIMES student became a finalist ($25,000), and seven other PRIMES and RSI students won national scholar awards.

Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank you to PRIMES Director Slava Gerovitch, PRIMES Chief Research Advisor Pavel Etingof, RSI Faculty Advisor David Jerison, PRIMES/RSI head mentor Tanya Khovanova, and the students’ mentors!

**See all of the award winners:**

### 2024 Baddoo Community Awards

Several math community members received the 2024 Peter Baddoo Community Building Award, for individuals who have made significant contributions to building and strengthening our MIT Math community.

At the Senior Dinner on May 8, Paige Bright was awarded for her Department volunteering efforts, PRIMES Circle outreach, and TA work. Mehrab Jamee was recognized for his work as Undergraduate Math Association president, including organizing social events and academic talks, creating math course resources and Putnam practice sessions, and overseeing the distribution of the popular UMA hoodies. Daniel Santiago-Alvarez was praised for increasing undergrad involvement in DEI, and running panels, mentorship workshops, and coffee chats.

At the May 22 Spring Social, graduate student recipients were Tang-Kai Lee, for dedication to his role as TA for 18.02 and 18.06; and Catherine Wolfram, for her efforts as a TA in 18.600. Instructor Keaton Naff was recognized for his leadership in sections such as 18.100P. All three recipients are actively involved in organizations including the Geometric Analysis Reading seminar and DRP.

This award is named in honor of the late Department instructor Peter Baddoo, who received the Community Building Award in 2022 for organizing tea and coffee hours for the postdoc community.

Congratulations, Catherine, Daniel, Keaton, Mehrab, Paige, and Tang-Kai!

### Saba Lepsveridze and Frank Wang Receive Bucsela Prizes

The 2024 Jon A. Bucsela Prize in Mathematics has been awarded to senior math majors Saba Lepsveridze and Frank Wang for distinguished scholastic achievement, professional promise, and enthusiasm for mathematics.

Congratulations, Frank and Saba!

### 2024 Housman Teaching and Learning Awards

The 2024 Charles and Holly Housman Award for Excellence in Teaching goes to seniors Yiming Chen (TA for courses including 6.122 and 18.800) and Katie Miner (18.02 TA); to graduate student Ryan Chen (TA for 18.06); and to instructors Alex Pieloch (18.901 fall 2023, 18.03 spring 2024), Thomas Rüd (18.01A and 18.02A fall 2023, 18.781 spring 2024) and Jonathan Zung (18.904 fall 2023, 18.900 spring 2024).

Undergraduate awards were presented at the Senior Dinner on May 8, and graduate, postdoc, and instructor awards at the Spring Social on May 22.

Congratulations, Alex, Jonathan, Katie, Ryan, Thomas, and Yiming!

### Davis Evans Earns Benney Prize

Graduate student Davis Evans is the recipient of the David J. Benney Prize.

This award recognizes excellence in applied mathematics, with preference given to students in physical applied math, computational science, numerical analysis, computational biology, or theoretical physics. Davis is a PhD candidate working on hydrodynamic quantum analogues in John Bush’s lab.

This award honors David Benney, an applied math professor who died in 2015. Benney chaired the Applied Mathematics Committee from 1983-1985, and served as Department Head for two terms, 1989-1999.

Congratulations, Davis!

### Calder Morton-Ferguson and Kai Zhe Zheng Receive Johnson Prize

The 2024 Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Prize, for a research paper accepted for publication in a major journal, has been awarded to graduate student Calder Morton-Ferguson for his paper "Symplectic Fourier-Deligne transforms on G/U and the algebra of braids and ties," in International Mathematics Research Notices, April 2024, and to Kai Zhe Zheng for his paper “Near Optimal Alphabet-Soundness Tradeoff PCPs” in Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity, Report No. 27, 2024.

Congratulations, Calder and Kai Zhe!

### Phi Beta Kappa Inducts 54 Mathematics Seniors

The Xi Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa has elected 54 mathematics majors, among 127 electees from MIT's Class of 2024, to become members.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. Membership is awarded to students in recognition of excellent academic records and commitment to the objectives of a liberal education. The annual Phi Beta Kappa lecture and initiation ceremony is May 29, during MIT’s Commencement week.

Full list of Mathematics Inductees

Congratulations to our newest members of Phi Beta Kappa!

### Ben Lou and Kenta Suzuki Receive Goldwater Scholarships

Third-years Ben Lou and Kenta Suzuki each received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Ben is majoring in physics and math with a minor in philosophy. Under the mentorship of the LIGO Group’s Nergis Mavalvala, dean of the School of Science, and graduate student Hudson Loughlin, he is working on research to advance the field of quantum measurement, with potential applications including quantum gravity. He thanks his advisors Janet Conrad from Physics and Thomas Rüd from Math. He also acknowledges support from Math’s Elijah Bodish and Roman Bezrukavnikov; Physics’ Alan Guth, Barton Zwiebach, and Richard Price; and David W. Brown of the San Diego Math Circle.

An alum of the PRIMES and SPUR programs, Kenta is a math major who works with Roman on research at the intersection of number and representation theory, using geometric methods to represent p-adic groups. Kenta says he was also inspired to research representation theory by Zhiwei Yun and Wei Zhang.

They were among 438 U.S. college students selected on the basis of academic merit.

Congratulations, Ben and Kenta!