Dr. Stephen A. Fulling, professor of mathematics at Texas A&M University, has been elected as a 2018 Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest organization of physicists.

No more than one-half of 1 percent of the organization's current membership is selected by their peers for inclusion in the APS Fellowship Program, which was created to recognize advances in knowledge through original research and publication, innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, and significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service.

Fulling, a 42-year veteran faculty member in the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics who also has held a courtesy appointment in the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy for nearly two decades, is cited "for laying foundations for quantum field theory in curved space-time, and for working to maximize communication between physics and mathematics, and between subfields of each." He was nominated by the APS Division of Gravitational Physics and is one of four 2018 honorees from the state of Texas, including fellow Texas A&M professor Dr. Ping Yang in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences who holds the David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences.

"Dr. Fulling is eminently deserving of this award," said Dr. Emil J. Straube, professor and head of Texas A&M Mathematics. "He has made foundational contributions to theoretical physics, specifically to the area of quantum field theory in curved space-time. He is also an exceptional mentor of both graduate and undergraduate students, and he is a model departmental citizen. In short, Steve represents an ideal that embraces research, teaching and service, not as competing enterprises, but as mutually reinforcing integral parts of the academy. We are fortunate to have him on our faculty."

Fulling joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1976 after earning both his master's and Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University in 1969 and 1972, respectively, and completing postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1972-1974) and King's College London (1974-1976). Previously, he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1967.

As an expert in theoretical mathematical physics, quantum field theory and the mathematics of quantum mechanics, Fulling's teaching and research lies at the crossroads of two fundamental disciplines with myriad career trajectories, making him a highly sought-after educator and advisor. Like many Texas A&M mathematicians, his research is continuously funded by the National Science Foundation, only in his case, it's the NSF's Division of Physics.

"As a physicist, my interests are in quantum theory, general relativity and their areas of overlap," Fulling said. "As a mathematician, I'm concerned with linear partial differential equations as they apply to physical problems in modern ramifications of familiar ways: the spectral theory and asymptotics of differential operators."

Given his hybrid background and vast experience, Fulling is widely respected by not only his colleagues and collaborators but also graduate and undergraduate students for his unparalleled research and mentoring excellence. He is renowned for exposing members of his group to cutting-edge research as well as the larger research community by providing access to his collaborations spanning regional universities, travel to international conferences and general connections across disciplines and continents.

Fulling also boasts an long history of pedagogical innovation that extends well beyond lifetime improvements he has made to the course many Texas A&M students first encounter him in: general relativity. Among other innovations, he pioneered the introduction of writing assignments, peer review of homework and Internet use in upper-level courses for junior and senior engineering and science majors at Texas A&M. On a broader scale, Fulling also participated in the Foundation Coalition project for reform of freshman engineering education, co-authoring a detailed final report on its calculus component. In 2004, he served as the first chair of the committee to elect students to the Texas A&M chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

An elected member of the Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala in Sweden, Fulling is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the APS, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Mathematical Association of America. In addition to more than a hundred papers and publications, he has authored two books, Aspects of Quantum Field Theory in Curved Space-Time (Cambridge University Press, 1989) and Linearity and the Mathematics of Several Variables (World Scientific, 2000). He also is editor-in-chief of Discourses in Mathematics and Its Application, a series of expository volumes published by Texas A&M Mathematics.

Fulling, who was celebrated in 2014 as a distinguished alumnus of St. Louis' Lindbergh High School (Class of 1963), earned a 2015 College of Science Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award recognizing his important investment in the future of scientific research. In 2013, he was honored by Texas A&M Mathematics with the department's Outstanding Teaching Award reflecting his initiative and drive to provide undergraduates with unique opportunities for growth.

To learn more about Fulling and his teaching, research and professional service accomplishments, visit http://www.math.tamu.edu/~fulling/.

For more information on the American Physical Society or the APS Fellowship Program, visit at http://www.aps.org.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Stephen A. Fulling, (979) 220-9606 or fulling@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Stephen A. Fulling

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