Tarleton State University assistant professor of mathematics Dr. Robert Muth has been selected for the prestigious Uhlenbeck Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Group Representation Theory and Applications program from the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, Calif.
Muth will join other U.S. mathematicians for a five-month stint at the MSRI, returning to Tarleton next fall to continue his teaching and research.
Organizers of the MSRI program include mathematics professors from the University of Southern California, University of Oregon, University of Valencia, University of Washington, UCLA and the University of Arizona, among others.
Muth’s field of research, known as representation theory, is a branch of pure mathematics that studies abstract algebraic structures, their symmetries and their interaction with linear spaces—linking fields such as combinatorics, geometry and quantum mechanics.
“Groups are one of the most fundamental algebraic objects, and people have studied their structure for hundreds of years. Still, there are a lot of questions about groups and their representation theory,” Muth explained. “Very recently, some huge advances have come from newly discovered connections to different areas of mathematics.
“As part of the MSRI program, experts will work together to advance understanding of group representation theory, and to apply this theory to make progress in connected areas of science and mathematics, such as geometry, topology and quantum mechanics,” he said.
According to the MSRI, group representation theory is a central area of algebra, with important and deep connections to areas as varied as topology, algebraic geometry, number theory, Lie theory, homological algebra and mathematical physics. Born more than a century ago, the area still abounds with basic problems and fundamental conjectures, some of which have been open for more than five decades. Recent breakthroughs have led to the hope that some of these conjectures can be settled.
“To be selected for the Uhlenbeck Fellowship is a terrific honor, and I’m proud to represent Tarleton at the MSRI,” Muth said. “It’s an opportunity to make great progress in research as well as connect with other researchers in my field. I’m indebted to Tarleton for facilitating this opportunity along with the donors—the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies—for making the program and my participation in it possible.”