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Meyerhoff Awarded Simons Fellowship

11/01/12
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Mathematics Professor G. Robert Meyerhoff (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Nov. 1, 2012

Mathematics Professor G. Robert Meyerhoff has been awarded a Simons Fellowship to help support his research in hyperbolic 3-manifolds. The fellowship will provide funding for a semester research leave and allow Meyerhoff to take a full-year sabbatical for the 2012-13 academic year.

Established by the Simons Foundation — a New York City-based private institution that sponsors programs to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and science — the fellowships are awarded based on an applicant’s scientific accomplishment in the five-year period preceding the application and on the potential scientific impact of the leave period. A committee of distinguished scientists advises the foundation in the selection of winners; 50 awards were given for 2012-13.

“Many awards of this type tend to be for mathematicians who are early in their careers,” said Meyerhoff, who joined the Boston College faculty in 1993. “So to find one that is for researchers who have been around for a while is quite welcoming. I’m very pleased to have been chosen.”

Meyerhoff’s area of research involves the three theories on the geometric structure of the universe, Euclidean, spherical and hyperbolic. His work focuses specifically on understanding the nature of hyperbolic 3-manifolds by analyzing their size or volume.

Utilizing the research of numerous mathematicians, Meyerhoff and his collaborators previously proved that the smallest volume hyperbolic 3-manifold is the so-called Weeks Manifold — the culmination of 30 years of work. His project for the Simons Foundation has the goal of finding the first trillion lowest volume hyperbolic 3-manifolds.

"The Simons Fellowship will be very helpful in my efforts to pursue this research,” said Meyerhoff. “It will be far easier to travel and collaborate with my colleagues at other institutions, and the extra research time will also enable me to do more work with my colleagues at BC.”

Meyerhoff added that support from the University, through faculty fellowships and 80-percent sabbaticals, “was a big help to me in producing the body of research that the Simons Foundation based the award on.”
 
A profile on Meyerhoff and his research is available via the Boston College Libraries website at http://bit.ly/VAQHqK.