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Meet the New 2020-21 Math Department Faculty

The Mathematics Department welcomes one of its largest-ever groups of incoming faculty. This fall we are joined by Assistant Professors Paata Ivanisvili, Corey Jones, Peter McGrath, Andrew Papanicolaou, and Teemu Saksala, and Teaching Assistant Professors Luke Castle and Stepan Paul.


Luke Castle


Teaching Focus: I am primarily interested in creating contextualized content for general education math courses. I hope to create a classroom environment where students develop transferable skills like writing, presenting and understanding data alongside mathematical maturity relative to their field of interest.

Why NC State?: I received my Ph.D. from NC State, and I really loved the atmosphere of the university and the Department of Mathematics as a graduate student. I knew that I would have supportive colleagues, the opportunity to work with a diverse student population and ample resources to support my professional goals.


Paata Ivanisvili


Research Focus: I am an analyst by training. Certain objects (for example, heat distribution or run time of an algorithm) can be described in terms of functions, integrals, sums or more complicated operators, and sometimes we do not have a formula describing them at all. A big part of my research is estimating these complicated expressions in terms of simple known parameters.

Why NC State?: I like the diversity of the Department of Mathematics at NC State, the fact that many new faculty members are joining the department this year, and its location in the Research Triangle area and on the East Coast.



Corey Jones


Research Focus: My research is focused on understanding generalized concepts of symmetry that arise in quantum physics. I develop mathematical tools for analyzing the algebraic structures underlying low-dimensional quantum field theories, which have applications in both condensed-matter and high-energy physics. I enjoy collaborating with physicists to turn physical intuition into mathematical theorems.

Why NC State?: NC State has a strong interdisciplinary spirit, and I look forward to participating in the vibrant research community here. I am a Raleigh native, so it’s very exciting to be returning after so many years away!


Peter McGrath


Research Focus: My research area is differential geometry; more specifically, I study minimal surfaces, which are the mathematical realizations of soap film or soap bubble surfaces. I have developed computer-generated three-dimensional models of some of these surfaces.

Why NC State?: I am excited to have many new colleagues at NC State. Everyone I have met so far has been warm and engaging, and I am looking forward to being a part of the academic community here.


Andrew Papanicolaou


Research Focus: My research is in financial mathematics and data science. Currently, I am working on solving previously unsolvable problems using recent advances in machine learning methods and applying the solutions to financial data to determine how the methods affect financial decision making.

Why NC State?: I was attracted to NC State’s math department because it is a rich environment with strong faculty and strong students. I felt that this would be the best place for me to achieve my research goals.


Stepan Paul


Teaching Focus: My focus is on teaching at the undergraduate level. I’m interested in promoting student learning in visualization-intensive courses like multivariable calculus through the use of computer-based interactions and physical manipulatives. I am also interested in communicating research-level mathematics to a broad audience through illustration, such as sculpture, 3D printing, computer graphics and animation.

Why NC State?: I really appreciate the department and university’s commitment to developing undergraduate instruction. The opportunity to live and work in the Research Triangle was also a big draw.


Teemu Saksala


Research Focus: I focus on the field of geometric inverse problems, a sub-branch of mathematics with a general goal of finding an unknown input from a measured output when some information about the process leading to the output is known. The goal of my research is to obtain a better mathematical understanding about the deep structures of terrestrial bodies like Earth.

Why NC State?: The Department of Mathematics is very well known around the country. Its size makes it possible to teach many different types and levels of classes in pure and applied mathematics and offers many possibilities for research collaborations. NC State also has an extremely nice location as part of the Research Triangle, providing many opportunities to work with scientists at the neighboring schools and high-tech businesses.