The “Paths to Math” series comes to a close with this special edition video, featuring one of our most beloved veteran mathematicians: Distinguished Visiting Professor Karen Uhlenbeck. Watch to see Karen describe the introduction to calculus course that awakened her love for math and her spirited female colleagues in Chicago, who helped to dispel any lingering doubts about being a woman mathematician.

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School of Mathematics

"Imagine that you are blowing a soap bubble using a simple wand. Why does the bubble that you create take the form of a sphere? Why not an ovoid? Or a cylindrical shape? Or something totally random?" Explore the minimization principles that govern such systems with geometric measure theorist Paul Minter, who serves as a Veblen Fellow in the School of Mathematics.

The largest live autonomous vehicle traffic experiment ever conducted began the week of November 18, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. While this experiment used 4 miles of highway, 288 cameras, and an impressive command center, one of its most vital resources was equations on a blackboard. In front of one of these blackboards was Benedetto Piccoli, Visitor in the School of Mathematics.

This installment of the “Paths to Math” series features Paul Minter, Veblen Research Instructor (2022–23) and Veblen Fellow (2023–27) in the Institute’s School of Mathematics. Watch to see Paul describe how, despite being discouraged from applying to an elite school, his passion for mathematics brought him from a small U.K. seaside town, to Cambridge University, and then to IAS.

This installment of our “Paths to Math” video series features Kalyani Kansal, Member (2023–24) in the Institute’s School of Mathematics. Watch to hear Kalyani describe her fascination with the “patterns” of the Langlands Program, outline the interesting commonalities between mathematics and detective stories, and discuss the importance of diversity and representation in the field.

Shiyue Li, Member in the School of Mathematics, is interested in algebraic geometry and combinatorics. As a researcher she enjoys, in her words, “the freedom to wonder about fascinating things in nature, and the connections with other minds from around the world.”

This installment of our "Paths to Math" video series features Patrick Shafto, Member in the Institute’s School of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Rutgers University. Learn how Patrick’s unexpected start studying physical therapy at Northeastern eventually led to his current research, which explores the intersections of human and machine learning.

When Karen Uhlenbeck was a MacArthur fellow, between 1983–88, she went on a series of incredible adventures visiting other MacArthur fellows and learning about their projects. “This was actually one of the high points of my life,” Uhlenbeck said to me, laughing. She recalls whale watching in Hawaii with Roger Payne, a trip to the Amazon to see Philip DeVries’s work with butterflies, studying lemurs in Madagascar with Pat Wright, and a Montana dinosaur dig with Jack Horner.

Mathematics Member John Urschel works on linear algebra, specifically matrix analysis. In this video, he shares his journey from the NFL to a career in mathematics, having worked on his Ph.D. at MIT during the offseason while playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Now retired from the NFL, Urschel is able to focus completely on math.

Ukrainian mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda was initially undecided on her career path. She had every intention of going into business until an opportunity presented itself to attend a mathematics graduate program in the United States.