11/20/2000 08:00:00

Caltech Faculty Member Receives Packard Fellowship

Pasadena—Rahul Pandharipande, associate professor of mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, has been awarded a $625,000 Packard Fellowship for his work in advanced mathematics and the study of the geometry of algebraic curves.

Every year the foundation selects 24 Fellows to receive these awards, which are distributed over five years.

The fellowship program was established in 1988 by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to improve scientific research by "encouraging exceptional scientists and engineers to remain within academia to conduct basic research and to teach the next generation of science leaders."

Pandharipande's primary work is in the area of algebraic geometry. This important area has been central to advanced mathematical study over the last century, with essential links to both number theory and differential geometry.

In the past decade, the study of algebraic geometry has been revolutionized by the introduction of techniques used in the study of topological gravity: matrix models, integrable systems, and Gromov-Witten theory. Also, mathematical developments inspired by string theory have been rapid. Using newly discovered ideas, Pandharipande and collaborators have solved long-standing mathematical problems related to his area of research. His input has aided developments in theoretical physics; has helped solve geometric problems connected with string theory; and will help shed light on a number of issues in algebraic geometry.

Pandharipande joined the Caltech mathematics staff in 1998. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, which included a one-year leave at Institut Mittag-Leffler in Sweden as a postdoctoral fellow. A recipient of numerous honors, Pandharipande received the A. P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in 1999; a National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1995; and an NSF Graduate Fellowship in 1991.

Pandharipande earned his AB from Princeton in mathematics in 1990 and his PhD from Harvard in mathematics in 1994.

Born in India, Pandharipande grew up in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, where both of his parents are professors at the University of Illinois.

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges (626) 395-3227 debwms@caltech.edu

Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges