Dusa McDuff

Barnard College


Election Year: 1999
Primary Section: 11, Mathematics
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

During my career as a mathematician I have worked in several distinct fields. However, even though the fields have been different I have often worked on the same kinds of questions, trying to understand the detailed structure of particular objects. For example, in my PhD thesis I found infinitely many distinct von Neumann algebras of a special type called a II-one factor, while recently I discovered infinitely many different symplectic structures on the same manifold. For most of my career I have been interested in questions of differential topology - the study of spatial objects that are smooth enough for one to be able to use the methods of calculus. My work in the past 15 years has been almost exclusively in the realm of symplectic topology. Here one studies a special kind of structure on space called a symplectic structure, that generates the equations of classical physics for systems with conservation of energy (Hamilton's equations). In the past 15 years, I have assisted in the development of methods that allow one to understand the global geometric properties of this kind of structure.

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