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News from the Postdoctoral Program

One of the features that distinguishes the mathematics department at OSU from comparable departments elsewhere is our postdoctoral program. We value this program very highly and have struggled to keep it going even when budget constraints have made this difficult. Postdoctoral faculty are usually young researchers within a few years of earning their Ph.D. who join our faculty for between one and three years before seeking positions elsewhere. These postdocs have the opportunity to develop their research program and benefit from the knowledge and experience of the permanent faculty. The energy and enthusiasm they bring to mathematical research at OSU, as well as the fresh perspective they offer on their field of research, play an important role in enhancing the vitality and quality of mathematical research at OSU. When they move on with their careers elsewhere, our former postdocs help to increase the department's visibility and reputation.


This year, we were fortunate to have three postdocs in the department, Loretta Bartolini, Kei Nakamura, and Jitka Stehnova. Loretta and Kei specialize in low-dimensional topology, and Jitka in representation theory. We are delighted that Loretta will remain at OSU next year. Kei will be moving on to a postdoctoral position at Temple University in Philadelphia, while Jikta will be taking up a tenure-track position at Mount Mercy College, a liberal arts college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We wish Kei and Jitka all the best.


It is a source of pride for our department that many of our postdoctoral visitors over the years have gone on to great success in the world of mathematics. This year offered a particularly striking example. Professor James McKernan, who was a postdoc at OSU in the 1994-1995 academic year, was the joint recipient of the American Mathematical Society's Cole Prize in Algebra for his work on high dimensional birational geometry. The Cole Prize, which is given in alternate years for work in Algebra and Number Theory, is the most prestigious national prize in these areas. Professor McKernan was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Harvard. Before coming to OSU, he held postdoctoral positions at the University of Utah and at the University of Texas at Austin. After his time at OSU, he moved to a tenure-track job at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and thence to his current position on the faculty at MIT.


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