MSUToday
Published: Dec. 4, 2018

MSU professor honored for advances in math, mentoring students

Contact(s): Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561 osowskiv@msu.edu

Efstratia, or Effie, Kalfagianni, Michigan State University professor of mathematics, was named a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, or AMS, for 2019.

Established in 1888, the AMS is dedicated to advancing research and connecting the diverse global mathematical community through publications, conferences, professional services and advocacy programs.

Kalfagianni is one of just 65 mathematical scientists from around the world recognized by her peers for outstanding contributions to the creation, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. 

“I feel fortunate to be working and collaborating with outstanding young mathematicians, whether they are colleagues, postdoctoral students or doctoral students here at MSU,” said Kalfagianni, who was nominated for her advancements in knot theory and 3-dimensional topology.

Kalfagianni’s recent research explores the interplay and relations between physics and combinatorial 3-manifold invariants, as well as geometric structures on 3-manifolds coming from the Thurston geometrization picture developed in the 1980s. Her work establishes connections between quantum 3-manifold invariants, hyperbolic geometry and the topology of surfaces that embed in “essential” ways in 3-manifolds, a major goal of modern 3-dimensional topology.

Known not only for her mathematical prowess, but also for her mentoring excellence, Kalfagianni currently supervises four postdoctoral students and has mentored several postdoctoral and doctorate students, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their field. Her research and mentoring activities have been continuously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation since she joined MSU in 1998.

“Kalfagianni represents the best of the mathematical sciences: excellent and impactful research, outstanding student mentorship and service to department and community,” said Keith Promislow, chair of the Department of Mathematics in the MSU College of Natural Science. “She is an inspiration to our department and to Michigan State as a whole.”

Before joining MSU, Kalfagianni was a Hill assistant professor at Rutgers University and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton for two years. Originally from Greece, Kalfagianni received her master’s of science in 1990 and doctorate in 1995 in mathematics from Columbia University. 

For a full list of this year’s class, their institutions and citations, visit http://www.ams.org/ams-fellows.

Effie Kalfagianni, MSU professor of mathematics, is one of just 65 mathematical scientist from around the world who were named 2019 American Mathematical Society Fellows. Courtesy photo.

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