Mathematics professor wins prestigious Sloan fellowship

Chi Li

Mathematics professor Chi Li has been named a 2017 Sloan Research Fellow as one of the next generation of scientific leaders.

Li, whose focus is in complex geometry, will receive a $60,000 fellowship to further his research. He is among 126 researchers in the United States and Canada selected for 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships.

Li hopes to use the fellowship money to embark on new collaboration efforts as well as travelling to conferences, bring in mathematics experts to Purdue for talks and fund student research.

“It means I have a lot of things to do in the future. It’s just the beginning,” Li said. “In some sense, there is pressure on me. There is a responsibility to keep doing good work.”

Educated at Peking University, with a Ph.D. from Princeton University, Li came to Purdue as an assistant professor in August 2015. He was the only researcher from Purdue given a 2017 Sloan fellowship.

Li teaches a graduate level linear algebra and applications class while working on his research of the Kähhler-Einstein metric, a continuation of his thesis work from Princeton University. Kähler was a 20th century mathematician, who created a manifold with three compatible structures. The structures – complex, symplectic and Riemannian – are classified as the smooth complex projective variety.

“I’m studying the intersection of this problem using different geometries,” Li said.

Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, said in a statement, “Through their achievements and ambition, these young scholars are transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons. We are proud to support them at this crucial stage of their careers.”

Forty-three former Sloan Fellows have won the Nobel Prize, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., then- president and CEO of General Motors. It makes grants in support of original research in science, technology, mathematics and economics. 

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