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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Mathematics professor receives megagrant

IU mathematics professor Vladimir Touraev was awarded a $2.7 million grant to start a new mathematics laboratory in Russia.

The award is one of 42 megagrants given by the Russian government in order to conduct research in the country.

“The aim of the megagrant is to encourage the development of modern mathematics in Russia,” Touraev said in an IU press release.

“I bring the expertise, they bring the resources and, most importantly, the students and scientists.”

In the mid-1970s, Touraev was a high school math teacher in Russia.

Now, over 40 years later, he will return to his native country to establish his very own scientific center.

The center will be based out of Chelyabinsk State University, according to the release.

It will comprise approximately 20 students and 20 expert mathematicians.

Touraev will be working with people from Moscow, Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg.
Touraev’s expertise is in low-dimensional two-, three- and four- dimensional structures, or topology.

This is the study of the properties of geometric shapes that are unaltered by elastic distortions, according to the release.

Topology is relevant wherever research involves stability, continuity or
dynamics.

Touraev said in the release that the center will not be focused solely on
topology.

“While I will try to promote some directions close to my work, I expect the established researchers to pursue their own lines of research,” he said. “At this stage, the grant creates considerable opportunities for mathematicians working in these fields and excellent possibilities for collaboration.”

Touraev will receive funding to organize and operate the new laboratory through 2016.

He will then have the opportunity to renew the funding for an additional two years.

Kevin Zumbrun, chair of the Department of Mathematics within IU’s College of Arts and Sciences, said in the release that the grant not only recognizes Touraev, but creates opportunities for collaboration between scientists, IU and their counterparts in
Russia.

“The department is both delighted that Vladimir’s excellence is being recognized at this scale and excited about the possibilities this raises for new international collaboration at a number of different levels: undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and
faculty,” he said.

Touraev will remain the Boucher Professor of Mathematics at IU, spending just his summers in Russia.

According to the release, Tournaev said the first person he has invited to the new laboratory is his former Ph.D. advisor, Oleg Viro.

Viro is a topologist in Russia as well as a professor at Stony Brook University.

Tournaev said he is in the process of inviting other scientists from the U.S., including former and current colleagues in the IU Department of Mathematics.

Follow reporter Grace Palmieri on Twitter @grace_palmieri.

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