Campus & Community

Algebra, topology expert Lurie named professor of mathematics

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Mathematician Jacob Lurie, whose expertise ranges across algebraic geometry, topology, and algebra, has been named professor of mathematics in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1, 2009.

Lurie, 31, was previously associate professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a position he has held since 2007.

“Professor Lurie is a mathematician of impressive breadth and energy,” says Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science in FAS. “He is also an enthusiastic and committed teacher of mathematics, known for the clarity of his lectures. Given his dynamism and his broad expertise, I expect that his impact on our undergraduate mathematics concentrators will be substantial.”

Although Lurie has published papers on logic, combinatorial game theory, and lie groups, his most significant work has come in algebraic geometry, topology, algebra, and most recently, representation theory. His recent work has been described by fellow mathematicians as “revolutionary” in its intertwining of these fields, and his notion of topological modular forms has profoundly impacted algebraic topology and homotopy theory.

Lurie’s work in homotopy theory has broken new ground with its deep and invigorating connections with algebraic geometry, topological quantum field theory, geometric representation theory, quantum group theory, and higher algebra. His work in this area, regarded by his peers as both fundamental and problem solving in nature, lays a foundation for the “right way” to view certain constructions, opening up new vistas in many of the aforementioned fields.

Lurie is author of the forthcoming book “Higher Topos Theory” (Princeton University Press, 2009), whose powerful theory presents applications in many areas of mathematics.

Lurie received his A.B. in mathematics from Harvard College in 2000 and his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 2004. He has since been supported by a five-year American Institute of Mathematics fellowship. Prior to joining the MIT faculty in 2007 he had been a visiting professor at both Harvard and MIT.

As a teen, Lurie received a gold medal in the 1994 International Math Olympiad and took first place in the 1996 Westinghouse Science Talent Search. As a Harvard undergraduate, he was the 2000 recipient of the Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize for Outstanding Research in Mathematics, awarded by the American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.