Faculty of Mathematics Alumnus about Alma Mater and Doctoral Studies at Leiden University
Pavel Solomatin is one of the first wave of graduates from the HSE Faculty of Mathematics. He successfully graduated from the undergraduate and master’s programmes, and then enrolled in the Leiden University doctoral programme, where he is currently studying number theory under the academic supervision of Bart de Smit.
— Why did you decide to apply for the HSE Faculty of Mathematics?
— Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer to this question. I’d known since secondary school that I wanted to study mathematics, but when I was applying for university in 2008, the HSE Faculty of Mathematics was only just being formed. We were the first students of the faculty. Of course, that meant that none of the applicants had any information about how and what we would be taught at the faculty. Moreover, none of my friends knew about HSE at all seven years ago. That’s why my choice is mere serendipity. I simply passed all the examinations, saw my name on the lists, and brought my documents to the admissions committee.
— Did your studies at HSE influence your life choices? What was the most memorable thing during your studies?
— Yes, definitely. If there had been no Faculty of Mathematics in my life, I wouldn’t be here talking about mathematics. Most of my classmates at school easily entered the technical departments of leading Russian universities. Seven of my classmates enrolled in Moscow State University. Unfortunately, almost none of them still want to be academics. At the same time, five students from school 179 enrolled in the Faculty of Mathematics at HSE that same year. Three of them graduated from the faculty, and all of them are still deeply involved in mathematics today.
— Which lecturers do you still remember today?
— I remember everyone who taught me. I remember those who taught me during the first years of study with particular warmness, including S.M. Lvovsky, Yu.M. Burman, G.L. Rybnikov, O.V. Schwarzman, and many others.
— Where did you continue your education after the undergraduate programme? What fields of mathematics are the most interesting for you? When did you decide that this is what you are interested in?
— After my undergraduate course, I continued on the Faculty of Mathematics master’s programme. I’m interested in various fields of mathematics, but number theory is my main area of interest. I realized I wanted to study arithmetic during my first years of university studies, thanks to my academic supervisor, Alexey Zykin, who I worked closely with from when he started working at the faculty in 2009 until my departure.
— What requirements did the Leiden University demand for doctoral applicants? What knowledge and skills were useful for you in the doctoral programme and what were you lacking?
— The requirements were standard for most Western doctoral programmes: knowledge of the subject and the desire to study. Formally, this means a big batch of documents that includes a CV, recommendations from professors, grade records, language certificates, various research papers, and so on. I had to pass a couple of interviews in the process of admission. Speaking about the knowledge and skills that I was lacking, it’s difficult to say. It seems that I didn’t have any particular problems as regards to this.
— Could you tell us more about your university and the research topic on which you are working?
— I’m studying at Leiden University. Leiden is a small city in the Netherlands located right between The Hague and Amsterdam. The university has a rich history: it was founded in 1575. The problem I am working on is related to L functions in various representations of absolute Galois group of global fields. Speaking more simply, my problem is an arithmetic analogue of the following classical geometry problem: is it possible to hear the form of a drum? Or more formally, is it possible to recreate a surface if you know the spectrum of the Laplace operator on it?
— How are your studies going? Is it different from studying at HSE?
— I’m working on my problem most of the time. Leiden turned out to be a good place for those interested in number theory. More than half the people at the department are involved in arithmetic, so if you have a question regarding arithmetic, you always can find an expert who can help you understand the issue quickly. Comparing Western and the Russian schools, I would say that each of them has their own advantages, but for different levels of education. HSE’s undergraduate programme provides a very good foundation, which is, in my view, much more substantial than at most Western universities. On the other hand, Moscow lacks good doctoral schools (in broader sense) in many areas of mathematics. I think that it will be difficult for HSE alone to fix this situation radically.
— Do you see your classmates often?
— I regularly see some of my friends, although I see some of them more rarely than I would like to. About 10 of my classmates went to study and work overseas, mostly to the U.S. Many of them left Moscow to return to their hometowns. And I myself don’t spend much time in Moscow these days.
— Do you have any leisure time, apart from your studies? What do you do?
— There is just about enough leisure time, but I can’t say there is plenty of it. I try to keep fit. Sport helps to release the mental stress accumulated during the day.
— What advice would you give to future generations of HSE mathematicians, today’s students?
— Study only for yourself. Not for grades, bursaries, or approval from teachers or parents. All these things don’t matter. Set your own goals and try to find solutions to them, try to find something that really engages you. Most importantly, it should be interesting for you. Otherwise, mathematical studies will turn your life into unbearable torture.
— Do you regret choosing this field of work?
— I think you can’t regret it: you are either into science, or not.
— Do you have the main goal in life? What are your future plans?
— It’s early to talk about it. First, I have to write my thesis, and only then think about future plans.
HSE University Students Win Prizes at the International Mathematics Competition for University Students
The 29th International Mathematics Competition for University Students (IMC 2022) took place in early August in a mixed format in Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria) and online. Eight students of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science and the HSE Faculty of Mathematics won prizes at the competition.
Fernanda Florido-Calvo came to HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod from Chile to study mathematics. While on her two-year Master of Science in Mathematics programme, she wrote her master’s thesis and presented it at the All-Russia Contest of Diploma Thesis of Russian Mathematicians 2021, where she won two awards with full marks. Fernanda spoke to the HSE News Service about her passion for mathematics and the paths that lead to HSE University.
The speakers of the International Congress of Mathematicians, a key global mathematics event held every four years by the International Mathematical Union, have been announced. The next ICM will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July 2022. Five researchers from the HSE Faculty of Mathematics will present their papers at the congress.
HSE University maintains active cooperation with the Academy of Science institutes, which open joint departments at the university and provide their best experts for teaching and research. HSE News Service talked to Deputy Directors of the RAS Steklov Mathematical Institute (MIRAS) — RAS member Lev Beklemishev andSergey Gorchinskiy — about the development of mathematics in the modern world, career opportunities for graduates in mathematics, and the specifics of researchers’ work with students.
‘HSE Offers the Opportunity to Study Mathematics Alongside Renowned Mathematicians as Part of a Vibrant Research Community’
HSE University’s Faculty of Mathematics is one of the strongest in Russia, consistently ranking high on global university rankings. Its degree programmes attract the best students, not only from Russia, but also from around the world, by offering them a well-rounded mathematical education and a wide range of learning opportunities. In an interview with HSE News Service, a Master’s student and an HSE alum talk about features of the HSE Master’s Programme in Mathematics.
In celebration of Russia’s Year of Science and Technology, we continue our series about HSE University’s international laboratories, which are headed by world-class scientists and scholars. The first of these, the Laboratory of Algebraic Geometry and Its Applications, was established in October 2010. Below, Laboratory Head Dmitry Kaledin discusses the Lab’s history, research, achievements, and current activities.
43 projects from all over the country were awarded grants in Russia’s Eighth Mega-Grant Competition. HSE University’s application in support of the creation of a world-class laboratory in mathematics was among the winners. The academic supervisor of the new laboratory will be Professor Michael Shapiro of Michigan State University (USA).
Edmond W.H. Lee, a full professor at the Department of Mathematics, Nova Southeastern University, USA, has recently defended his Doctor of Sciences (DSc) thesis at the Dissertation Council in Mathematics, HSE University. The DSc in Russia is a higher doctoral degree that can be earned after the PhD. Professor Lee’s defence was held over Zoom, with the candidate and his dissertation committee members participating remotely from 5 cities in Brazil, Israel, Russia, and the USA. Lee became the first international recipient of a DSc degree in Mathematics from HSE University.
In an interview, Sania Pushkar, a member of the first graduating class of the Faculty of Mathematics, talks about why she loves math, what she’s up to now, and what she’ll remember most about studying in the Faculty of Mathematics at HSE University.