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Renowned scholar Dan Margalit joins Vanderbilt University as professor and chair of Department of Mathematics

Posted by on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 in News Story.

Dan Margalit has joined the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science as professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics. Margalit is a highly accomplished mathematician whose research expertise lies at the intersection of low-dimensional topology and geometric group theory, with a particular focus on mapping class groups of surfaces.

“We are thrilled that Dan is joining our faculty in this important position of leadership,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “I know that his experience and scholarly contributions will enhance our existing strengths, forge new connections across disciplines, and propel our university forward.”

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Dan Margalit

Margalit has earned significant recognition in the field for his groundbreaking research. He received the American Mathematical Society’s Levi L. Conant Prize in 2021, was inducted as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2019, and was named a Sloan Research Fellow in 2009. He has secured several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, totaling over $4M, including an NSF Career Award. He received numerous university-wide teaching awards while at Georgia Tech: the Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award, the Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, the Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, and the Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching. He is co-author of a leading Princeton University Press text, A Primer on Mapping Class Groups, and has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles.

“Dan’s cutting-edge work has influenced a whole generation of geometric group theorists,” said Timothy P. McNamara, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science and Gertrude Vanderbilt Conaway Chair in the Social and Natural Sciences. “Not only is he widely known for being one of the foremost leaders in his field, but he is also a dedicated and gifted teacher who demonstrates a deep level of creativity and ingenuity in his pedagogy. He will have a great impact on Vanderbilt students for years to come.”

Before joining Vanderbilt, Margalit was professor of mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor at Tufts and did his postdoctoral work at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his B.S., Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, and to contribute to its missions of excellence in research and education,” said Margalit. “I am honored to lead a mathematics department with a rich history of transformative research and dedicated teaching. As we begin this new era, we will continue to focus on making the department a primary destination for students and faculty across campus who are looking to engage in fundamental scientific research. We also aim to continue to provide world-class instruction and to create a welcoming and nurturing atmosphere that allows all of our students to realize their potential as mathematical thinkers. We want to empower our students—the leaders of the next generation—to think critically about the numbers, shapes, and patterns they will encounter every day in their lives and in their work.”

The university employed the firm Spencer Stuart to conduct a year-long national search to fill the position. Margalit’s appointment began on August 16, 2023.

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