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Igor Rivin joined the Department of Mathematics in 1999. His diverse research interests include the geometry of polyhedra, differential geometry, low dimensional topology, graph theory, combinatorics, probability theory, matrix analysis, asymptotics, symbolic computation, computational physical chemistry, computational biology, computational methods in mathematics and finance.
Rivin is currently receiving National Science Foundation funding for a project that will virtually synthesize and characterize new kinds of zeolites. Zeolites, which have uses ranging from water filtration to petroleum refining, are a very useful class of microporous materials that can capture very specific molecules while allowing others to pass through. The development of new zeolites is currently a matter of trial and error. Rivin and co-PI Michael Treacy at Arizona State University plan to virtually develop new zeolites and create a database of these theoretical zeolites and their predicted characteristics. They will also attempt to develop specific zeolites that capture targeted molecules.
Rivin, whose PhD advisor at Princeton was Fields Medalist and topology innovator William Thurston, has published the majority of his papers in the field of topology, the study of spatial properties preserved under stretching. His work has been utilized by geometers around the world and won him more than a few honors. Currently, one vein of his research is focused on finding the simplest possible non-Euclidean algorithms to describe wide ranges of manifolds, a field known as optimal geometry or uniformization.
Though much of his work is topological, Rivin's research has been widely varied. The zeolite project, for example, combines his expertise in topology with his extensive background in computer programming, graph theory, and combinatorics. He has been a researcher or consultant for Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and Wolfram Research, among many others. He is founder and president of Rivin Financial.
Along with Assistant Professor David Futer, Rivin forms the core of the Mathematics Department's growing Geometry Research Group.
Rivin earned his BS in Mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1981 and his MS in Mathematics in 1982 and PhD in Mathematics in 1986 from Princeton University. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick as well as Olga Tausski-John Todd Instructor at the California Institute of Technology before joining Temple.
(posted July 2009)