Mathematician Eduardo González Earns $130k National Science Foundation Grant
“Many things in mathematics that don’t make sense in the beginning have a big impact on the world,” says González.
González is looking for a way to mathematically describe very large spaces (like the space around a star) or very small spaces (like the space between two atoms). At a very large or a very small scale, all the neat and orderly geometry formulae that we learn in high school start to break down.
“One of the beautiful things is that mathematics is not attached to the physical world,” says González.
González says that he is trying to attach numbers to these very challenging spaces.
While some of González’s research involves interdisciplinary work with scientists studying quantum physics or protein folding, he largely focuses on pure mathematics. Funding for this type of research is often scarce, though González says that pure mathematics has led to important advances in science and technology. He cites Einstein’s theory of relativity, which could not have come about without pure mathematical research behind it.
González began working on symplectic geometry when he was in graduate school, and found it fascinating.
“Mathematics is very organic, you don’t decide to work on a problem – the problem takes you there, the problem chooses you,” he says.
In 2014, González was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. He was awarded a grant from the NSF in 2011 to study pure mathematics. He was also awarded a Healey grant to study protein folding with UMass Boston professor Nurit Haspel. González has been teaching at UMass Boston since 2008.