Glad to be Immersed in a Very Strong Mathematical Tradition
Dr. Chris Brav, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Mathematics has joined the HSE this year. He shared with the HSE news service his background, first impressions on living and working in Moscow and plans for future.
— You've been working in different universities, including Oxford University, Leibniz University and University of Toronto. Why did you decide to join the HSE? What is attracting for you as a researcher here?
— Many of the best people working in my own area of research (algebraic geometry with heavy use of homological algebra) are based in Moscow, and it is a great opportunity to be able to interact with them frequently. More broadly, Russia, and Moscow in particular, has a very strong mathematical tradition and I am very glad to be immersed in that. In addition to research, I am looking forward to teaching at HSE. The mathematics students at HSE are excellent and it is possible to offer courses at a much more advanced level than I have seen elsewhere.
— How did the process of international recruiting go?
— The recruiting process in the Faculty of Mathematics was organised as a kind of miniature research conference. Each candidate gave an hour long lecture, during which both the faculty and the students asked good questions. The interviewing committee consisted of senior mathematicians and Vice Rector Konstantin Sonin, whose interest in and knowledge of the Russian mathematical community was impressive. Altogether, I felt that HSE would be a place in which my contribution as a mathematician would be valued.
The mathematics students at HSE are excellent and it is possible to offer courses at a much more advanced level than I have seen elsewhere.
— What were pros and cons for moving to Moscow?
— Besides the mathematical opportunities in Moscow, I very much look forward to improving my Russian and to getting to know the many faces of Moscow culture. On the other hand, I was rather concerned about bringing my young daughter to live in such a bustling city. Fortunately, we have found a flat in a green part of the city, near a large wooded park. So the main remaining disadvantage is that it will be a very long trip to visit relatives.
— Do you have certain rules for a newcomer in a new city and a new university? Can you share them if you have such rules?
— My advice is to be open-minded and flexible, to give yourself a generous amount of time for adjusting, and to not let frustrations and misunderstandings weigh you down, but to focus instead on positive experiences.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE news service
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