Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Calculating Career. (Mathematics)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Calculating Career. (Mathematics)

Article excerpt

Jonathan Farley

* Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., Department of Mathematics; Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, Oxford University

* Education: Postdoctoral fellow, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, Calif.; D. Phil., Mathematics, University of Oxford; A.B., Mathematics (summa cum laude), Harvard University

* Age: 31

Growing up as the child of two university professors, Dr. Jonathan Farley never thought of doing anything other than teaching. However, he is finding that the biggest challenge as a young scholar is balancing both professional and social responsibilities.

"One year I noted I was on seven different committees -- the Martin Luther King Commemorative Lecture Series, the faculty adviser for the Black students association and the Caribbean students association, plus a whole host of others. Yet at the same time, I was facing the pressure to have to publish or perish," Farley says. "I made the decision to help the students."

Farley says the problems -- mathematical and otherwise -- that he has solved and his other accomplishments speak for themselves. In his short career, Farley has solved an MIT mathematics problem that had gone unsolved for 24 years, and a second problem that had gone unsolved for 35 years.

Upon his graduation from Harvard, Farley won a Marshall Scholarship for study at Oxford University in England. There he won the Senior Mathematical Prize and Johnson Prize for "the dissertation of the greatest merit" by a mathematics graduate student under the age of 25. …

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