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:

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. 

​Why BGU?

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 do​esn’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 w​ould…

Be in politics.

In brief​​​: 

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