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Augustin Banyaga Named Distinguished Senior Scholar

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11 May 2015

Augustin BanyagaAugustin Banyaga, professor of mathematics at Penn State University, has been named a Distinguished Senior Scholar. The title is given by Penn State's Eberly College of Science in recognition of a sustained record of extraordinary achievement in research and education. Holders of this position have had a profound effect on their fields through creative innovation and internationally acclaimed scientific leadership, as well as exceptional accomplishments in teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

Banyaga's research is in the areas of symplectic geometry, contact geometry, and topology. He focuses on understanding the algebra, geometry, topology, and dynamics of a particular mathematical phenomenon known as a diffeomorphism, in which two shapes can be mapped onto one another while preserving their volume and other measurements. In addition, he has made contributions to several classical problems in mathematics, including Klein's Program and the Weinstein conjecture.

Banyaga was elected a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences in 2009. He has been a member of the scientific advisory board for several national and international mathematics initiatives and has served for four years on the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council with the primary mission of linking U.S. mathematics to the world through the International Mathematical Union. He has published over 70 research papers and is the author of two books, "The Structure of Classical Diffeomorphism Groups" in 1997 and "Lectures on Morse Homology" in 2004. He is editor of Afrika Matematika, the journal of the African Mathematical Union, and of the African Diaspora Journal of Mathematics.

Banyaga earned a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a doctoral degree in mathematics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland in 1971, 1972, and 1976, respectively. He was a Swiss National Science Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Geneva from 1975 to 1977 and a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey from 1977 to 1978. Banyaga was Benjamin Pierce Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University from 1978 to 1982 and assistant professor of mathematics at Boston University from 1982 to 1984. He joined the faculty at Penn State as associate professor of mathematics in 1984 and became professor in 1992.


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