U Mathematician Named Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics
Firas Rassoul-Agha has been named a member of the 2019 Class of Fellows of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) The Institute is an international professional and scholarly society devoted to the development, dissemination, and application of statistics and probability. IMS Fellowship recognizes the outstanding research and professional contributions of its members.
“I’m honored to become a member of this exceptional group of mathematicians,” said Rassoul-Agha, professor of mathematics. “It’s always gratifying to be recognized by my colleagues for contributing to the profession.”
Research on Probability Theory and Statistical Mechanics
Rassoul-Agha’s research is on the interface of probability theory and rigorous aspects of statistical mechanics. “I work on understanding the evolution of systems with complex interactions, such as particles moving in a disordered environment, heat diffusing in an inhomogeneous alloy, cars navigating their way through traffic, the rough surface of a growing crystal, and the boundary of an infected tissue,” he said. “Complexity is captured by the randomness in the model, both in the environment with which the particles interact or in which the crystal grows, and in the interaction or growth process itself. I focus on developing the mathematical laws that govern such systems such as quantifying the particle density evolution, the roughness of the growing interface, and the properties of the optimal particle trajectories.”
As a young child he enjoyed doing math puzzles with his mother, and his affinity for math continued throughout school. During college, he had a professor who piqued his interest in the beauty of mathematics. The same professor helped Rassoul-Agha understand that it was possible to have a career doing research in math.
He obtained a Ph.D. from New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in 2003 and was a visiting assistant professor and postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State University. He joined the U as an assistant professor in 2005; an associate professor in 2009; and a professor in 2014.
He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Simons Foundation Fellowship and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
When he isn’t in the classroom or doing research, he is with his wife, Alla Borisyuk, associate professor of mathematics and the department’s director of undergraduate studies, and their two sons, Maxim and Kirill.