Wei Ho Named Director of Women and Mathematics

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Lee Sandberg
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Wei Ho, Visiting Professor in the School of Mathematics, has been named as the first Director of the "Women and Mathematics" (WAM) program at IAS. During her five-year appointment she will lead the annual, award-winning program, which has the mission to recruit and retain more women in mathematics. 

A renowned mathematician, Ho is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan and both a Research Scholar and Visiting Lecturer with Rank of Professor at Princeton University. As part of her research, Ho explores statistical questions about objects in number theory, a subfield recently dubbed arithmetic statistics. She is particularly interested in finding arithmetic applications of classical algebro-geometric constructions. Her numerous papers have been highly regarded and are expected to have widespread applications.

In 2020, Ho was a Visitor in the School of Mathematics. She was previously a participant, teaching assistant, and lecturer in WAM and will be able to bring her prior experience with the program to her role as Director. She will be the first academic resident to lead the activities of WAM, offering a fresh perspective to its activities and strengthening its impact.

“Over the last 28 years, the IAS Women and Mathematics program has made a tremendous impact on many mathematicians, including myself,” stated Ho. “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the leadership of this storied program and to continue this important work while part of the vibrant mathematical community in Princeton. I thank all of those who have worked so hard on this program over the years, and I hope to continue their legacy of inspiring young mathematicians.”

The WAM curriculum includes an intensive multi-day workshop, hosted on the IAS campus, featuring lectures and seminars on a select topic. Participants engage in networking events, community discussions, and explore various career opportunities. The theme for WAM 2023 is Patterns in Integers: Dynamical and Number Theoretic Approaches. Past WAM themes include The Mathematics of Machine Learning (2022), Representation Theory: Categories and Combinatorics (2021), Topics in Geometric Analysis (2019), and Mathematics of Modern Cryptography (2018).

Ho has also been involved in both mentoring and outreach outside of WAM. Currently, she organizes multiple mathematical conferences, including one of the recent Women in Numbers workshops, which are coordinated by Women in Number Theory. A resource for women number theorists, the group also aims to showcase the many contributions women have made to the field. Ho is co-organizing the Stacks Project Workshop—an initiative of the Stacks Project—where graduate students, postdocs and senior mathematicians collaborate on a topic in algebraic geometry in small groups. She is also organizing a Mathematical Sciences Research Institute semester for Spring 2023; the Inaugural Emmy Noether Lecture Series and research conference, “100 Years of Noetherian Rings," at IAS; and a WAM alumnae reception at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

Ho received her Ph.D. in 2009 from Princeton University, where she was supervised by IAS Trustee (2017–22) and Member (2001–02) Manjul Bhargava, with whom she has published on core questions in arithmetic statistics. Her paper with Member (2012–13) Arul Shankar and Ila Varma has also had a profound impact on the field, in addition to papers on applications to questions in number theory, like her work with Levent Alpöge.

Her work has earned her regular funding from the National Science Foundation, including a CAREER grant, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

“It is an exciting and historic time for the Women and Mathematics Program with the appointment of Wei Ho as the first Director,” said Michelle Huguenin, Program Manager in the School of Mathematics. “Wei brings great energy, ideas and experience to the role.  I look forward to working with her and seeing how the program evolves under her leadership.”

WAM continues its mission to recruit and retain more women in mathematics through new and sustained initiatives with generous support from the Minerva Research Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Lisa Simonyi, and Princeton University Department of Mathematics.

About Women and Mathematics
In 1994, the Women and Mathematics Program (WAM) was established at IAS under the leadership of Karen Uhlenbeck and Chuu-Lian Terng, supported at the time by IAS Director Phillip Griffiths (1991–2003). Originally a part of the Park City Mathematics Institute, WAM seeks to recruit and retain more women in mathematics and address the gender imbalance and attrition rate among female mathematicians compared to their male counterparts. To this end, WAM is uniting women at various stages of their academic development (at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and research levels), forming fruitful research relationships, and establishing a year-round mentoring network. In 2019, the program was recognized for its impact with the American Mathematical Society (AMS) “Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference” Award. WAM has hosted a total of 1,521 participants through 2022.

About the Institute
The Institute for Advanced Study has served the world as one of the leading independent centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry since its establishment in 1930, advancing the frontiers of knowledge across the sciences and humanities. From the work of founding IAS faculty such as Albert Einstein and John von Neumann to that of the foremost thinkers of the present, the IAS is dedicated to enabling curiosity-driven exploration and fundamental discovery.

Each year, the Institute welcomes more than 200 of the world’s most promising post-doctoral researchers and scholars who are selected and mentored by a permanent Faculty, each of whom are preeminent leaders in their fields. Among present and past Faculty and Members there have been 35 Nobel Laureates, 44 of the 62 Fields Medalists, and 22 of the 25 Abel Prize Laureates, as well as many MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners.