Rahul Sharma

HSE Faculty of Mathematics

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The Faculty of Mathematics (FM) at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Russian: факультет математики Национального Исследовательского университета «Высшая Школа Экономики») was founded in 2008 jointly by the Higher School of Economics (HSE) and the Independent University of Moscow (IUM). It offers Bachelor of Science program “Mathematics” (in Russian), Master of Science program “Mathematics” (in English), Master of Science program “Mathematics and Mathematical Physics” (in Russian). The faculty also plays a key role in the HSE Graduate School of Mathematics (open to domestic and international students). Since the very creation of the FM, new faculty members were hired at the international market, and researchers from the USA, Japan, Canada, France, the UK, etc., joined the team. The Faculty of Mathematics has joint departments with distinguished research institutes of the Russian Academy of Science: Steklov Institute of Mathematics, Kharkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems, Lebedev Physical Institute. Associated with the FM are two international research groups, the so-called laboratories: the Laboratory of Algebraic Geometry and its Applications and the Laboratory of Representation Theory and Mathematical Physics.

Contents

Aim of the project

The main objective for the foundation of the Department of Mathematics, NRU HSE was to create the first mathematics department in the former USSR that would be internationally competitive in the following sense:

  • Employment terms and conditions (including salary range and research funding) should be attractive for mathematicians from developed countries;
  • It makes use of a hybrid strategy of instruction that combines Konstantinov's system and the best practices of leading Western mathematics departments (such as teaching assistantships, a cumulative grading scheme, minimum score of 6 required on IELTS test, etc.), as well as implementation of the Bologna process.
  • Current state

    The department has been successful in attracting researchers from the USA, France, the UK, and Japan, and not only those of Russian origin. 50% of faculty under 40 hold a Ph.D. degree from leading mathematics departments of Western universities (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), 40% of the undergraduate students are winners of national mathematics Olympiads (which is currently the highest rate in Russia). However, these indications of popularity are not enough to judge the success, because, as of 2011, the department is only three years old, so for example, no students have yet completed their studies).

    Notable faculty members and associate faculty members

    Fedor Bogomolov (Head of the HSE Laboratory of Algebraic Geometry), one of the creators of the theory of hyperkahler manifolds.

    Igor Krichever (director of the HSE Master of Science program in Mathematical Physics, previously the dean of the mathematics department at Columbia University), fourth on the list of most cited Russian mathematicians.

    Sergey Lando (Dean of the HSE Faculty of Mathematics), one of the authors of the ELSV formula.

    Victor Vassiliev (Chair of the joint department of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics and the HSE Mathematics Department, president of the Moscow Mathematical Society), creator of the theory of finite type invariants.

    Mikhail Verbitsky (Professor), prominent mathematician, widely known in Russia as a controversial critic and political activist.

    Notable projects co-implemented by the department

    Moscow Mathematical Journal (jointly with the AMS and the Independent University of Moscow, or IUM), currently the most cited Russian international mathematical journal.

    Math in Moscow (jointly with AMS, CMS and IUM), a one-semester educational programme in advanced mathematics, taught in English and covered by NSERC and NSF travel grants for Canadian and US students, selected by CMS and AMS respectively.

    International Master's program in mathematics, directed by Yulij Ilyashenko and conducted in English (jointly with the Steklov Institute of Mathematics).

    Laboratory of algebraic geometry and its applications, a research group supervised by Fedor Bogomolov and funded from one of the three so-called 'mega-grants', recently awarded by the RF government to math departments in Russia (the other two recipients are the MSU Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics and the SPbSU Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics).

    International recognition

    In terms of research strength, the Department (including faculty members at satellite branches at Steklov and Kharkevich Institutes) may well belong to the top 100 mathematics departments at research universities worldwide.

    Criticism

    In the last decade, Russian educational authorities have been introducing the Unified State Exam (Russian: ЕГЭ) for graduates of high schools and adjusting high school educational standards accordingly. The Higher School of Economics was one of the promoters of this reform. A large part of the academic mathematics community and especially the Independent University of Moscow were uncompromising opponents of the Unified State Exam in its current form and generated a society-wide discussion, resembling math wars in the USA. Based on this fact, some observers suspect that, providing resources for a joint mathematics department with the IUM, the Higher School of Economics attempted to "buy" the opinion of many leading mathematicians.

    References

    HSE Faculty of Mathematics Wikipedia


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