August 22, 2016

Mike Neamtu Named New Chair of the Department

Mike Neamtu

Professor Mike Neamtu has been named the new chair of the Department of Mathematics at Vanderbilt University.

Neamtu received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1991 from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He joined the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics in 1992. His research interests are in approximation theory, spline theory, computer-aided geometric design, and numerical analysis. He is a member of the department’s Center for Constructive Approximation. His latest research in splines and computer-aided design was featured in the 2015 issue of the department’s Spectrum newsletter.

He has been an organizer and co-organizer of many conferences on approximation theory and its applications, including the International Conference on Approximation Theory and the Conference on Geometric Design and Computing, a flagship conference of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design that he also chaired.

Neamtu has extensive experience with departmental administration, having served in the past as director of graduate studies, as vice chair, and also as acting chair of the department.

“I am excited to be taking on this role,” he said. “In recent years the department has made significant advances in terms of our achievements, visibility, and both national and international reputation, and I look forward to working with the rest of the faculty, students, and staff to continue that momentum.”

Neamtu expressed appreciation for the work of former chair Professor Dietmar Bisch, who has stepped down after eleven years of service. “We were very lucky to have Dietmar as chair,” Neamtu said. “His leadership was the driving force behind the progress the department has made in the past several years.”

John Ratcliffe

Professor John Ratcliffe will fill the role of vice chair that is being vacated by Neamtu. Ratcliffe received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1977. He has been a member of the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics faculty since 1985. He previously served as vice chair for three years from 2009 through 2012.

Ratcliffe’s research interests are in low-dimensional topology, hyperbolic manifolds, and geometric group theory. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Advances in Geometry and the author of Foundations of Hyperbolic Manifolds, a popular graduate textbook on the subject.

Neamtu and Ratcliffe’s terms began August 1, 2016.