SOCORRO, N.M., September 30, 1999 -- Ivan Avramidi recently was appointed to the full-time, tenure-track position of associate professor of mathematics at New Mexico Tech.
Avramidi came to Tech after having served the past two years as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Iowa and as a research scientist at the University of Greifswald in Germany and leading research scientist at Rostov State University in Russia.
Avramidi earned his doctoral degree in physical and mathematical sciences in 1987 at Moscow State University in Russia and his senior research scientist degree--a second degree, comparable to the title of associate professor--in theoretical and mathematical physics in 1993 at Rostov State University, where he also earned a first class honors degree (comparable to a master of science) in physics 14 years prior.
The newest member of Tech's mathematics department has been tasked this semester with teaching Calculus and Analytic Geometry and Basic Concepts of Analysis. In addition, Avramidi is helping instruct several students who will be involved with the upcoming Sixtieth Annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a national mathematics problem-solving contest for university and college undergraduates.
Next semester, he will teach, among other courses, Differential Geometry, a senior-level course that has not been offered at New Mexico Tech for several years.
"I consider teaching to be a very important part of the academic process," Avramidi says. "It is important both for the students and the lecturer. The students learn something new and the lecturer gets new views of the known material when trying to present it in a self-consistent and understandable form."
Avramidi's current research interests center around developing systematic methods for calculating the heat kernel for partial differential operators.
"The heat kernel is one of the most powerful tools in modern theoretical and mathematical physics," Avramidi explains. "In particular, it gives a general framework for the calculation of
the effective action and Green functions in quantum field theory, especially in quantum gravity and gauge theories."
Avramidi's recognized expertise in using the heat kernel approach in quantum field theory and other mathematical applications has garnered him a position as a reviewer of the journal Mathematical Reviews, a post he has held since 1993.
Teaching at a small university and moving to a small town was "a little bit of a culture shock," Avramidi admits, especially since he and his family grew up in places with populations of about a million people and had never lived anyplace with a population of less than a hundred thousand.
"But, I've found New Mexico Tech to be an exceptionally good school," he relates. "The campus is beautiful; the academic achievement level of the students is very high; and the faculty
are all friendly and helpful. . . . We've had to adjust to certain things--like finding out where to buy particular items-- but once we became accustomed to the new system, we liked it."
Avramidi and his wife, Valentina, are the parents of Gregori, who is a freshman at Socorro High School.