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A Course in Metric Geometry Wins Prize for Mathematical Exposition

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16 January 2014
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Dimitri (Dima) Burago, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Penn State University, and two co-authors, Yuri Burago and Sergei Ivanov, have been awarded the Leroy P. Steel Prize for Mathematical Exposition by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for their book A Course in Metric Geometry. The AMS recognized the book for making available a novel approach to differential geometry. It makes a significant contribution to modern geometry by offering a description-based, intuitive method as an alternative to traditional, computation-heavy techniques. The book was published by the AMS in 2001.

Dima Burago describes his research as "mathematics with physics thinking." Two of his recent publications, appearing in the Annals of Mathematics and the Duke Mathematical Journal, concern inverse problems and tomography, which is the imaging of any kind of penetrating wave, one thin section at a time -- a method used in geophysics, oceanography, materials science, astrophysics, and other sciences. His specialties also include other branches of mathematics and physics, including dynamical systems, algorithmic complexity, Finsler geometry, combinatorial group theory, and partial differential equations.

In 2013, Dima Burago was selected by Penn State to receive the title of Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. He was honored with the title in recognition of his exceptional record of teaching, research, and service to the University community. In 1997, he was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research fellowship and, in 1995, he received Penn State's Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement.

Dima Burago serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Geometry and Topology, the Journal of Topology and Analysis, and the Electronic Research Announcements of the American Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He has been a member of the Saint Petersburg Mathematical Society since 1992 and received its "Young Mathematician" prize that year. He has helped to organize mathematical conferences across the United States and abroad, and he has been invited to deliver many lectures at scientific symposia throughout the world, including at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin in 1998. Dima Burago has published numerous scientific papers during his career in various journals, including the Annals of Mathematics, Geometric and Functional Analysis, the Journal of Geometry and Topology, and the Journal of Topology and Analysis.

Before joining the Eberly College of Science faculty at Penn State in 1994, Dima Burago was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, a researcher at the St. Petersburg Institute for Informatics and Automation, and an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. He received doctoral and master's degrees from Saint Petersburg State University in 1992 and 1986, respectively.

In addition to Dima Burago, two co-authors contributed to A Course in Metric Geometry: Yuri Burago, a professor of mathematics at St. Petersburg State University and the head of the Laboratory for Geometry and Topology at an independent institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences named the St. Petersburg Department of Steklov Mathematical Institute, and Sergei Ivanov, a principal research fellow at the Steklov Mathematical Institute who recently was elected as a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Established in 1970, and given annually, the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition honors distinguished writing in the field of mathematics. Honoring George David Birkhoff, William Fogg Osgood, and William Caspar Graustein, and endowed through a gift from Leroy P. Steele, the award focuses on expository writing covering broad mathematical topics.

[ S J S ]

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