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Research Success Story

Research Success Story

National Science Foundation Grant for Mathematics Research

By David Lewis

Photo of Joshua Lansky, Jeffrey Adler, and Jeffrey Hakim (from left to right) by Samantha Saleh

American University mathematics professor Jeffrey Adler recently led the acquisition of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to facilitate major research with academic institutions around the world. The total grant awarded for the group of institutions was $1.2 million, with AU earning the largest percentage of the grant with over $500,000.

AU math professors Jeffrey Hakim and Joshua Lansky are collaborators on the grant, as well as several mathematicians from other domestic and international institutions, including MIT, the University of Michigan, Purdue University, and the College of William and Mary.

"This really enhances our research reputation," says Lansky, a member of AU's math department for five years. The grant will provide an opportunity for Adler, Hakim and Lansky to work more closely with their colleagues at other universities by facilitating their travel to AU over the next three years. "Despite the usefulness of e-mail and telephone and Skype, it's helpful to be in the same room with your research colleagues," says Adler.

The group will pursue an area of mathematics known as the local Langlands conjectures, along with related results in representation theory and harmonic analysis.  As Adler notes, "Harmonic analysis seeks to express physical processes in terms of simpler processes, just as a sound wave might be described in terms of the collection of pure tones that it comprises. Representation theory, or the study of symmetry, can appear a completely different subject, but they are two sides of the same coin."

The NSF is the primary source of federal funding for research in mathematics.