Dr. Guoliang Yu, an international expert in non-commutative geometry and geometric group theory, has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the Thomas W. Powell Chair in Mathematics at Texas A&M University.

Yu, described as "the" leader in the field of geometric topology and non-commutative geometry, joined the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics faculty in August as a professor with tenure on arrival, a rare distinction that required approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, which was granted at the Board's Aug. 2-3 meeting.

"Dr. Yu's work draws from and contributes to the areas of functional analysis, geometric group theory and differential geometry/topology -- all areas in which the department has strong research groups of international renown," said Dr. Emil J. Straube, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics. "As a result, Professor Yu plays an extremely important role, not only as an individual researcher, but also as a catalyst for successful collaborations."

The Powell Chair was established in 2008 through the Texas A&M Foundation by Houston native Thomas W. Powell, a 1962 Texas A&M mathematics graduate and chief executive officer and chairman of Powell Industries. Powell created two major opportunities for faculty at his alma mater -- $1 million endowed chairs in mathematics at Texas A&M and in marine engineering technology at its branch campus, Texas A&M University at Galveston -- intended to attract and retain high-quality faculty members and to ensure closer ties between the main university and its maritime campus. Both chairs marked major milestones in each department, ranking as only the second and third established, respectively.

"Mathematics is the common denominator and a vital tool for all science and engineering studies," Powell said when creating both chairs. "Our country's technical expertise and future success depends heavily on strong research and teaching programs in the mathematical sciences."

Straube cites Yu's broad yet highly relevant work in so many key specialty areas of mathematics -- specifically, his ability to bring techniques from one area to bear on important problems in another -- as evidence that he is an ideal fit as the first holder of the department's second endowed chair.

"Time and again, he has introduced surprising tools into the study of a set of important problems connected to the so-called Novikov conjecture," Straube said. "Not only has he far surpassed what other researchers were able to do, his ideas turned out to be so fruitful and, as a result, so influential that he is now credited with founding a new subject, the study of uniform embeddings of metric spaces."

Prior to coming to Texas A&M, Yu served 11 years as a professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from SUNY at Stony Brook in 1991 and completed a one-year postdoctoral fellow stint at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley before joining the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he remained for nearly a decade before going to Vanderbilt. Yu also held visiting appointments at many of the world's most prestigious research institutes, including Germany's Max-Planck Institute of Mathematics, the Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, Switzerland's Bernoulli Center of Mathematics, Shanghai's Fudan University and The Australian National University.

In November Yu earned selection along with 10 other Texas A&M mathematicians as an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). His research has resulted in more than 40 referred publications and three co-authored books, in addition to substantial and continuous funding support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). His exceptional accomplishments in this regard were recognized with an invitation to present an invited address at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in 2006 -- an event held only every four years and widely viewed as the single most prestigious venue in global mathematics. In addition, Yu has been a plenary speaker at the International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians, also an elite honor. He has delivered in excess of 150 invited talks at conferences and workshops throughout the world and serves on the editorial boards of four highly regarded international journals, including as managing editor for one.

Click here to learn more about Yu and his teaching and research at Texas A&M.

For more information on giving opportunities to benefit faculty and academic programs, go to http://giving.tamu.edu.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Guoliang Yu, (979) 845-6648 or guoliangyu@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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