Department of Mathematics
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Photo: Shay Shmueli, BGU
My life before BGU:
I was born in Cambridge, MA, USA, grew up in a town outside of Boston. My high school was Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, my undergrad was at Princeton University, and my grad school (PHD, since in the US you don’t get a master’s degree if you’re doing a PHD) was at MIT. In all cases, I studied mathematics (but in undergrad in the US, unlike in Israel, we study many other things too, including humanities). After that, I did a 3-year postdoc at UC Berkeley, then a 3-month postdoc at Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Germany, and now I’m at BGU!
My research touches on the type of question that is simple to state but at the same time difficult to solve: Given a polynomial equation in multiple variables, does it have rational number solutions? This is known as the question of Diophantine equations, and it goes back to ancient Greek times. I use a number of methods from modern algebra (Galois theory, algebraic geometry, and algebraic topology) to answer questions about Diophantine equations.
I would say that I came in a large part because there’s already a strong research group in my particular area. Otherwise, I’ve heard that the University is “up-and-coming.” I also know that David Ben-Gurion cared a lot about settling the Negev - I don’t know the history of the University though..
Photo: Shay Shmueli, BGU
Something that doesn’t appear on my CV:
I love learning different languages and can have conversations in quite a few languages. I have a particular interest right now in comparative linguistics. Other things: I like cooking Japanese and Thai food, and I love trying interesting kinds of cheese.
When I grow up:
I thought I would be an “inventor” until I realized at age 8 that that’s not a profession. Then I decided I would be a theoretical physicist or cosmologist. At about age 11, I realized I wanted to become a mathematician.
If I were not a researcher, I would…
Be in politics.
» Facebook or Twitter? Facebook! I use it all the time, and I don't understand Twitter (in fact, I mostly use Twitter to tweet about how I don't understand what Twitter is for!)
» Game of Thrones or the Simpsons? Probably Simpsons but I never really watched either
» Yoga or CrossFit? I don't really know either, but probably CrossFit, because “Yoga" is a culturally appropriated term
» Chess or backgammon? Chess (but I also like Backgammon)
» Steak or tofu? Tofu. Eating meat contributes to global warming and to the untimely death of animals.
» Car or train? Trains!! I've loved trains since I was a little kid
» X-Box or PlayStation? Actually, I prefer Nintendo
» Classical Europe or India? I know a lot more about Europe, so that's why I'm going to say India
» Ocean or pool? Ocean, but I also like pools
» Night or Morning? Evening!
» Winter or summer? Winter!
» Cat or dog? I like both
» Film or Play? TV show