Part of a Series of Q&A Miniprofiles for Math Awareness Month
Apr 13, 2016 | Atlanta, GA
What is your research about?
My research is about geometry in two, three, and higher dimensions. A lot of the geometric properties of sets have important applications. For example, one of the questions I’m working on has to do with packing: Suppose we have a million 10-inch-diameter ball-shaped items, and we need to pack them in an optimal way. What shape should we choose for the package?
What has been the most exciting time so far in your research life?
A few exciting times were when I would arrive at final conclusion when proving a theorem, which led to papers and collaborations.
How did you find your way to mathematics research?
I have always liked math. I attended math circles as well as a math-oriented high school, and I participated math Olympiads.
What advice would you give to a college freshman who wants to be a mathematician?
Take graduate courses in mathematics, and always aim for more.
If you could not be a mathematician, in what line of work would you be now?
In that case I would like to be a writer, a postman, a marathon runner, a psychology theorist, a dog trainer, a park ranger, or a zoo keeper. All of those I find exciting, but not as exciting as math.
What is the most exciting thing about being a part of Georgia Tech?
Being a part of such a nice interdisciplinary community, within which we all have common interests and inspirations, is nice.
What are you most surprised about in your encounters with Georgia Tech students?
They are significantly better at math and more hard working than students in most American universities.
What is an unusual skill, talent, or quality you have that is not obvious to your colleagues?
I run long distances. My record distance is a marathon (26.3 miles), but I intend to beat it soon.
What is your ideal way of relaxing?
Hiking, walking, playing tennis, swimming outdoors, doing BBQ, camping, watching my birds on my porch while thinking about math. The last happens often, and the rest I do every week or every other week.
What three destinations are still in your travel to-do list?
China, South America, Australia; I haven’t had a chance to go to those places yet.
If you won $10 Million in a lottery, what would you do with it?
Invest it in a hedge fund and keep doing all the same things I do now. But I don’t play lotteries.