We are thrilled to announce that the German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved two Research Training Groups (RTG) with MATH+ scientists as group leaders: A new one in Algebraic Geometry with Gavril Farkas (HU Berlin) as co-spokesperson, and a second funding period for the International Research Training Group Berlin-Oxford on Stochastic Analysis, headed by Peter Bank (TU Berlin).

Gavril Farkas (left) © Kay Herschelmann | Peter Bank © Felix Noak

The new Research Training Group (RTG 2965) in algebraic geometry “From geometry to numbers: Moduli, Hodge theory, rational points”

The new RTG is jointly run by the Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Stefan Schreieder from Hannover is the spokesperson of the RTG, and Gavril Farkas, Berlin Mathematical School’s co-chair and MATH+ Distinguished Fellow from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is the co-spokesperson. Apart from Gavril Farkas, the Humboldt-Universität is represented in the RTG with another four PIs, also all MATH+ members, namely Gaetan Borot, Bruno Klingler (also MATH+ Distinguished Fellow), Thomas Krämer, and Angela Ortega.

The PhD training in the RTG will run from 01 October 2024 until 30 September 2029, and the DFG will fund 20 PhD positions each for a duration of four years, distributed evenly between the two participating universities.

The guiding principle of the RTG is the interplay between geometry and numbers. A first manifestation of this idea is the fact that geometric objects can be assigned algebraic invariants and, in particular, numbers, which often play an important role in classification. Examples are given by Hodge numbers, by intersection numbers on moduli spaces, or by the number of rational points.

The research program rests on three main pillars for which the groups in Berlin and Hannover are world experts:
• Hodge theory and topology of algebraic varieties;
• Geometry and combinatorics of moduli;
• Arithmetic of moduli and rational points.

The International Research Training Group Berlin-Oxford (IRTG 2544) „Stochastic Analysis in Interaction“ enters its second stage of funding

The IRTG is jointly operated by Technische Universität Berlin and the University of Oxford, led by MATH+ member Peter Bank from Berlin and Terry Lyons from Oxford. The further funding means that the successful collaboration between Berlin and Oxford in this mathematical field over the past four and a half years will continue. In particular, it enables PhD students from Berlin and Oxford to visit each other’s institution for months at a time. This IRTG will receive over four million euros in funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for another four and a half years.

Since April 2020, the PhD students of the international graduate school "Stochastic Analysis in Interaction" have been investigating mathematical questions concerning random systems, as they appear in many models of biology, physics, or finance. "Our graduates from the first phase of funding have, for example, contributed to the mathematical foundations of a better understanding of Bose-Einstein condensation and have also developed numerical methods for dealing with very current models for fluctuations in financial markets," says Peter Bank, who heads the field of financial mathematics at TU Berlin. "But also, at least at first glance, purely mathematical contributions to the integration theory of rough paths have been made and have even been awarded with one of the doctoral prizes of the Excellence Cluster MATH+," he adds.

The second funding period will allow the current PhD students, as well as those of a third doctoral group, to complete an equally varied and in-depth training and research program. "We can now follow up on the 14 workshops, the more than 80 lectures given by invited researchers from all over the world, the mini-courses, and the Berlin-Oxford summer schools from the first funding phase with further highlights," says Peter Bank, adding: "And our PhD students will continue to gain international experience. They have already been a flagship of the Berlin research landscape, having held over 200 presentations internationally."
(Source IRTG: TU Berlin Press Release, in German)

Research Training Groups (RTG), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
RTG are established by universities to support the development of early career researchers. The groups receive funding from the DFG for a maximum of nine years. Their primary focus lies on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research program and a structured training framework. Research Training Groups that embrace interdisciplinary collaboration are highly encouraged. The objective is to equip doctoral candidates with the skills to navigate the complexities of the science and academic job markets while fostering their early scientific independence.
We are delighted to announce that BMS PhD student Anastasija Pešić has been selected as GAMM Junior for her research on “Variational models for pattern formation in biomembranes.” GAMM Juniors are young researchers and members of the GAMM who have distinguished themselves with an excellent diploma, master’s, and/or PhD thesis in the fields of Applied Mathematics or Mechanics. Congratulations!

Anastasija Pešić’s research focuses on the Calculus of Variations, specifically in its application to biological membranes. She employs variational techniques, such as Gamma-convergence and scaling laws, to analyze minimizers of nonlocal, nonconvex functionals linked to the formation of lipid rafts in cellular membranes. Her work is driven by a genuine interest in applying analytical techniques to understand complexities within the biological context.

© Vira Raichenko
Regarding her acceptance into GAMM Juniors, she stated, “I am honored to have been selected as a new member of GAMM Juniors. This provides a valuable opportunity to highlight the voices of young (female) researchers in our community. Additionally, I am excited to join this interdisciplinary network, which provides a platform for exchanging knowledge between researchers in mathematics and mechanics. This enriches our collective understanding of these disciplines.”

Anastasija Pešić pursued her mathematics studies at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and continued her studies in Germany as a member of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), the Graduate School of MATH+. She completed her M.Sc. at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2021 with the thesis on “Variational Analysis and Large Deviations Principle for Membrane Models.” In 2021, Anastasija was awarded the Hilda Geiringer Scholarship of the BMS, which aims to support promising female PhD students in mathematical research and recognize outstanding potential. At the DMV Student’s Conference in 2022, she also won the prize for the best conference talk. Currently, Anastasija Pešić is pursuing her Ph.D. at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in the Department of Applied Analysis, supervised by MATH+ member Barbara Zwicknagl. Her research project is part of RTG DAEDALUS.

Each year, for a duration of three years, up to ten new GAMM Juniors are selected. During their time as GAMM Juniors, the GAMM membership fees are waived. After three years, the membership as GAMM Junior is terminated automatically. By this means, it is guaranteed that young researchers obtain additional financial and emotional support at the start of their academic research, that they transfer their knowledge to the next generations of GAMM Juniors, and that they pass the organization of the group onto them.
The Dirichlet Postdoctoral Program offers two-year positions aimed at early-stage postdoctoral researchers worldwide across all mathematical fields. MATH+ and the BMS support their development into independent researchers while helping them further qualify for their future careers and gain international visibility. The three new BMS Dirichlet Postdoctoral Fellows who have taken up their postdoc positions in Berlin are Fabian Lehman, Ioannis Papadopoulos, and Alexandra Wesolek.

Ioannis Papadopoulos, Fabian Lehman, and Alexandra Wesolek | Photos: private

The Dirichlet Postdoctoral Fellows pursue their research agendas and delve into their individual research interests. MATH+ and the BMS offer an extensive mathematical environment and access to the latest advancements in their respective fields. They will receive support in establishing a collaborative network, encompassing both national and international scientific contacts, and benefit from insights provided by research groups in related or diverse fields. Furthermore, the postdoctoral researchers will have abundant opportunities to acquire teaching, supervisory, and mentoring experience within the framework of the BMS and MATH+.

Fabian Lehmann @ HU Berlin:
Fabian Lehmann studied mathematics at the Universität Freiburg. He earned his PhD from University College London with a dissertation on “Families of complete non-compact Spin (7) holonomy manifolds” in 2020. In the past three years, he worked at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stony Brook, New York. His research interests are at the intersection of geometry and partial differential equations. An essential system of partial differential equations appearing in geometry is Einstein’s equations, which characterize spaces with a particularly interesting curvature. They also appear in the theory of general relativity. He studies these equations on octonionic spaces, which have dimension seven or eight and are modeled on the octonions, which form an eight-dimensional number system. This extra structure gives Einstein’s equations a simpler form. Even in this setting, finding solutions is challenging. Fabian hopes that his “research at the BMS can contribute to finding such spaces which look like a cone” and continues with regard to MATH+ and the BMS: “The BMS has been a very successful program so far, and I am honored to be part of it.”

Ioannis Papadopoulos @ WIAS:
Ioannis Papadopoulos studied mathematics at the Imperial College London (B.Sc.) and the University of Oxford (M.Sc.). He obtained his PhD from the University of Oxford with a thesis on “Computing multiple solutions of topology optimization problems” in 2021. From 2021 to 2023, he held a research associate (postdoc) position at Imperial College London. His main research area is numerical analysis and scientific computing. The research focuses on the interface between PDEs and numerical analysis: spectral and finite element methods for fractional and nonlinear PDEs, nonconvex optimization, preconditioners, and software. During his Dirichlet postdoctoral fellowship, Ioannis wants to explore nonconvex PDE-constrained optimization, sparse hp-finite element methods, and preconditioning techniques for nonlinear PDEs and (quasi) variational inequalities. In particular, he is interested in computing multiple solutions of highly nonlinear problems with sparse high order discretizations. About his upcoming years in Berlin as a Dirichlet postdoc, he said: “It brings me great joy to become a part of the esteemed MATH+/BMS community. I eagerly anticipate engaging in collaborations and embracing what Berlin has to offer.”

Alexandra Wesolek @ TU Berlin:
Alexandra Wesolek recently completed her PhD at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver under the guidance of Bojan Mohar. Her primary research focus lies in topological graph theory. This subject is at the intersection of graph theory and topology/geometry. Throughout her graduate studies, Alexandra also went on research visits to France, where she worked on structural graph theory. Prior to joining the BMS, she pursued a 3-month postdoctoral position in Lyon, France, under the mentorship of Nicolas Bousquet and Théo Pierron. During her time at MATH+ and the BMS, she wants to work further on geometric and structural problems in graph theory. A problem she finds particularly engaging is the cops and robber game. In this game, cops try to catch one robber, while the cops and the robber move at the same speed. The game field can either be a graph or a surface. One is generally interested in the minimum number of cops that can catch the robber on the game field. Played on a graph, the game has many connections to structural graph theory since the structure of a graph determines the game. However, when played on surfaces, the game is influenced by the geometry of the surface. Regarding her forthcoming years at the BMS in Berlin, she commented: “Being at the BMS and working in the group of Stefan Felsner was my favorite destination for a postdoc, so I was very excited when I got the Dirichlet Postdoctoral Position. I am looking forward to being part of the BMS and to interacting with the students in the program and other postdocs. I am planning to teach a specialized BMS course in graph theory next year, which I am particularly looking forward to.”
This year's BMS Orientation Week – an introduction to the BMS program and Berlin for new students – took place from 06 to 12 October. We gladly welcomed 27 new BMS students who have started their studies in the winter semester 2023/24: 19 students in Phase I from 9 different countries and 8 in Phase II from 4 countries. The BMS currently has 235 students (Phase I + II).

Photos: © Kay Herschelmann / MATH+

On 10 October, we welcomed all new students for the BMS Orientation Day. The BMS Chair, Holger Reich, informed the Phase I students about all relevant aspects of the BMS PhD program, such as Basic and Advanced Courses, the Qualifying Exam, the MATH+ Friday Colloquia, and the BMS Mentoring program. Soft-Skills Seminars were introduced, and funding opportunities for conferences, summer schools, and German language courses explained. The MATH+ Managing Director, Nadja Wisniewski, and our Gender and Diversity Manager, Tanja Fagel, introduced the new Phase II students of the relevant details. The BMS Coordinator, Annika Preuß-Vermeulen, gave a talk on Mental Health and where to find help in case of need for Phase I students in the morning and for the junior researchers (incl. Postdocs and Junior Research Group leaders) in the afternoon.

The lunch break brought all newcomers and experienced BMS students and alumni together and gave everyone a chance to get to know each other and share tips in a relaxed atmosphere.

For the new Phase I students the day was concluded with presentations of the Basic Courses offered this semester, while the Phase II students and Postdocs heard a talk on Research Data Management by Tim Hasler, MATH+ Chief Data Officer. The Postdoc Orientation in the late afternoon started with a warm welcome by MATH+ Co-Chair, Martin Skutella, who together with the Postdoc Liaison Officer, Theo Roelofs, provided the new researchers with targeted information on opportunities and services at MATH+. This included such pressing topics as career development and its strategies, how to gain teaching experience, and the importance of becoming a mentor as well as finding a mentor for themselves. Funding opportunities and services at MATH+, service information about graduate services at FU, HU and TU and the BUA Postdoc Academy, and instructions on MATh+ publications were also explained. The orientation session ended with introducing the MATH+ Postdoc Representatives at MATH+ who participate in MATH+ Board and BMS Committee meetings.

The BMS Orientation week also encompassed many other helpful and also fun activities to prepare the students for studying and living in Germany and Berlin, like an Intercultural Training, a Master Regulations Meeting, and Campus Tours with the Student Representatives. A Walking Tour through Berlin and a food tour organized by the Student Representatives concluded the program.

We hope all groups took advantage of the valuable pieces of information and networking opportunity and had a great start at the BMS/MATH+. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the many BMS/MATH+ activities.


We are delighted to introduce Samantha Glory Guiate Simo and Wilson Tsuata as our first MATH+ YAM Fellows of the Young African Mathematicians (YAM) Fellowship Program for the academic year 2023/24. They just arrived and will stay in Berlin until 30 June 2024. As YAM fellows, they are also a part of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) for the duration of the YAM program. Congratulations, and welcome to the MATH+/BMS community! 

 Photos: © Beate Rogler / MATH+

Samantha Glory Guiate Simo
received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon, in 2020. She was also a master’s graduate in fundamental mathematics at this University. In June 2023, she completed the one-year master’s program at the African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) Cameroon. Her thesis focused on numerical analysis of stochastic differential equations. Commenting on the fellowship, Samantha said: “Participating in this program, YAM, and being part of the BMS is a great opportunity for me. I will have the chance to meet and work with important mathematicians who share the same interests as me. I do not doubt that these nine months spent in one of the German Clusters of Excellence, MATH+, will significantly enhance my skills, and I am very excited to begin.

Samantha will work together with Ana Djurdjevac, Junior Professor of Numerical Analysis and Stochastic at Freie Universität Berlin (FU). Thus, she will be enrolled as a master’s student in mathematics at FU Berlin. Ana Djurdjevac on her new fellowship awardee: “I believe that YAM is a great program, and I am delighted to be part of it. Samantha and I already met during the Second Berlin-Leipzig Fluctuating Hydrodynamics workshop organized at FU, where she met some of the people from stochastic and numeric. I am enthusiastic about our upcoming discussions and work.”

In Berlin, Samantha will take classes for a few months at FU Berlin and then work on a research project in stochastics and numerics with her advisor, Ana Djurdjevac.

Wilson Tsuata studied mathematics at the University of Yaoundé I as well, where he obtained his master’s degree. He completed a structured master’s degree in fundamental science at AIMS Cameroon this year. Wilson developed a particular interest in algebra, especially representation theory and cryptography. About his fellowship, he said: “I am thrilled to be part of the MATH+ community as a YAM Fellow and to have the opportunity to immerse myself in Berlin’s vibrant mathematics community. The YAM Fellowship program is a crucial bridge for me to pursue my aspirations of securing a PhD position. I am confident that this program will provide me with the necessary knowledge, skills, and research experience to advance in my academic journey.”

Thomas Krämer, Junior Professor of Algebra and Number Theory at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU), will be his advisor while studying in Berlin. That means Wilson will also be enrolled as a master’s student in mathematics at HU Berlin. Regarding the new fellowship program, Thomas Krämer says: “The YAM Program is a great opportunity for everybody involved. Talented students from AIMS will gain a unique research experience in a German Excellence Cluster in mathematics, establishing new connections as they take the next steps in their careers. Likewise, the life at our departments will profit a lot from the diverse perspectives brought in by the YAM fellows.”

In Berlin, Wilson will closely collaborate with his advisor, Thomas Krämer. He wants to make significant contributions to the field of mathematics during his study stay in Berlin while establishing lasting connections with fellow mathematicians from diverse backgrounds.

About the YAM Fellowship Program:
The Young African Mathematicians (YAM) Fellowship Program is a collaboration between five of the African Institutes for Mathematical Science (AIMS) and four German Clusters of Excellence: Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (Universität Bonn), Münster Mathematics (Universität Münster), STRUCTURES (Universität Heidelberg), and MATH+ (Berlin). The YAM program welcomes talented African students in mathematics to join one of the four clusters for nine months. They can take courses and seminars and gain experience in working on research projects.

The Berlin Mathematics Research Center MATH+ and the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) invite applications for the Dirichlet Postdoc Fellowship starting in Fall 2024. This two-year position is open to promising young mathematicians who will have completed their PhD degree by 30 September 2024 and want to pursue their own research in one of the eight broad research areas of mathematics covered by the Berlin Mathematical School. The competitive full-time salary includes health insurance. Fellows are expected to teach one semester course per year, typically in English at the graduate level. Applications from well-qualified individuals, especially women, are highly encouraged.

 Application deadline: 1 December 2023 (23:59:59, Berlin time, UTC +1 hour)

 Read more

In cooperation with the Einstein Foundation Berlin, the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) of the Cluster of Excellence MATH+ awards up to three annual prizes for outstanding dissertations to BMS graduates. We are delighted to announce that the MATH+ Dissertation Award 2022 have been presented to Dr. Luzie Helfmann, Dr. Patrick Morris, and Dr. Yizheng Yuan for their excellent theses. Congratulations!


Photo (from left to right): Michael Hintermüller (MATH+ Chair), Tibor Szabó (Advisor P. Morris), Patrick Morris (Awardee), Luzie Helfmann (Awardee),
Christof Schütte (MATH+ Co-Chair, Advisor L. Helfmann), Holger Reich (BMS Chair) | © Beate Rogler / MATH+


Luzie Helfmann

© Private
© Private

After High School (Abitur), Luzie Helfmann moved from Germany to England to study Mathematics and Physics at the University College London from 2012 to 2016. Upon returning to Berlin, she enrolled at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) to obtain her Master’s degree in Mathematics, successfully graduating in 2019 with a Master’s thesis on “Stochastic Modeling of Interacting Agent Systems.” She continued her doctoral studies at FU Berlin and the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research under the supervision of Christof Schütte and graduated with a PhD in 2022. Following her doctoral studies, she joined the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on model reductions of social dynamics. In June 2023, Luzie Helfmann became part of the Climate Policy Team at Climate Analytics, a global institute for climate science and policy. Within her role as a Data Scientist, she contributes to several projects through modeling and software development, including the Climate Action Tracker.  

Dissertation: “Non-stationary Transition Path Theory with Applications to Tipping and Agent-Based Model 
Many complex systems can tip, that is, change from one very stable state to another, possibly with dramatic consequences. Not only the climate system has this tipping potential, but also social systems, such as when public opinions drastically shift or when social movements arise. The dissertation aimed to develop ways to quantify and understand these transition or tipping events in social dynamics modeled with agent-based models. To achieve this, the dissertation builds on an existing theory called Transition Path Theory that allows quantifying transition paths. However, real-world dynamics that exhibit tipping behavior are often time-dependent and can be quite high-dimensional. Therefore, Transition Path Theory was extended to work with time-dependent dynamics, and it was demonstrated how the theory could be combined with model reduction methods to handle large-scale systems. 

Patrick Morris 

© Jiselle Steele
© Jiselle Steele
Patrick Morris started his mathematical career in the UK at the University of Bristol with a 4 year Msci in Mathematics (2011-2015) before coming to Berlin, where he graduated with an MSc in Mathematics from FU Berlin in 2017. He then continued his doctoral studies in the same Combinatorics and Graph Theory group of the Mathematics department at the FU Berlin under the supervision of Tibor Szabó and completed his PhD in 2021. Since April 2022, Patrick Morris has been a postdoctoral researcher in the GAPCOMB group at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona, hosted by Guillem Perarnau and funded by a Walter Benjamin Fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). After that, he will receive a Marie Curie grant for the next 2 years. His research interests are extremal and probabilistic combinatorics and design theory. He recently got his main result from his thesis accepted by the Journal of the European Mathematical Society (JEMS). In his spare time, he is a DJ and has a radio show on Radio Banda Larga (RBL) called "Fluid Dynamics."
Dissertation: “Clique Factors: Extremal and Probabilistic Perspectives” 
Suppose you are organizing a wedding seating plan, and each table seats exactly x people (e.g., x=10). Is it possible to have a plan with any 2 people on the same table being friends? In mathematical terms, this asks if a certain graph (the friendship network of guests) has a clique factor (the seating plan). This is a hard question, and the answer depends heavily on the network. Intuitively, it should be easier if the guests are well connected, and it has been a major theme in Combinatorics since the 60s to formalize this. This thesis proves that certain pseudorandom conditions (saying the network “looks” random) imply that clique factors exist. For x= 3, these conditions are optimal, and the result confirms a famous conjecture of Krivelevich, Sudakov, and Szabó (thesis advisor) from 2004. 

Yizheng Yuan 

© Private
© Private
Yizheng Yuan enjoyed getting to know all three math institutes of the major Berlin universities, starting at FU Berlin in Mathematics with a minor in Economics. After graduating from FU Berlin in 2015, he moved to HU Berlin where he became interested in the Schramm-Löwner Evolution (SLE), which was the subject of his Master’s Thesis “Regularity Properties of Schramm-Löwner Evolution.” He was a PhD student at Technische Universität Berlin under the supervision of Peter K. Friz (2018-2022) and joined the BMS and MATH+ in 2020. His commitment to the BMS and the Berlin mathematical landscape has been displayed many times, as a student seminar speaker in the embedded IRTG 2544, as a speaker in the 9th BMS Student Conference, and as pre-speaker to the IRTG lecture of Nina Holden. Since October 2022, he has been a postdoc at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics of the University of Cambridge (UK) with Jason Miller (PI). His research focuses on random conformal geometry, in particular Löwner chains, SLE, Gaussian multiplicative chaos, and Liouville Brownian motion.
Dissertation: “Schramm-Loewner Evolution and Path Regularity” 
In the early 2000s, only a handful of mathematicians were concerned themselves with a newly constructed and somewhat strange-looking object called Schramm-Loewner evolution (SLE). Today, about twenty years later, SLE is present everywhere in current research in probability, particularly random conformal geometry and statistical physics. It is essentially the unique random curve in the plane that has certain symmetries, and its prominence and ubiquity are somewhat comparable to that of Brownian motion. The dissertation digs into some fundamental questions regarding these random curves, ranging from characterizing in which sense they are “non-self-crossing” to quantifying their regularities. 


BMS Alumnus Martin Skrodzki received the 2023 SIAG/GD Early Career Prize at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Computational Geometric Design (GD23) on 05 July 2023 in Genoa (Italy), which is part of the International Geometry Summit 2023Congratulations from the BMS and MATH+!

The Early Career Prize of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design (SIAG/GD), established in 2018, is awarded to an outstanding early career researcher in the field of geometric design and processing for distinguished contributions to the field in the five calendar years prior to the year of the award.

SIAM GD Chair Hendrik Speleers (left) with awardee Martin Skrodzki (right) | Photos: © Henriette Lipschütz

Martin Skrodzki received his PhD from Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) under the supervision of MATH+ member Konrad Polthier and with the support of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS). He is currently an assistant professor at TU Delft in the group of Computer Graphics and Visualization. His research on 3D-scanning, point clouds, denoising, and visualization, as well as his novel activities on illustrations of mathematics, are described as exceptional.

Commenting on his award, Skrodzki said: “This award is a tangible recognition of the hard work and dedication me and my collaborators have put into this research. It validates our efforts, and we are both humbled and excited about this distinction. It will open up new opportunities, which can help me continuously develop myself as a researcher and further my career.”

He studied mathematics and computer science in Dortmund (Germany), Laredo (USA), and Berlin, where he graduated with a Dr. rer. nat. in 2019 from FU Berlin. While doing his PhD, he was also a member of the C05 Project "Computational and structural aspects in multi-scale shape interpolation" of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) “Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics” SFB Transregio 109, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). After obtaining his PhD, he held postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Mathematics (ICERM) at Brown University, the RIKEN Institute (Japan), where he was funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), and at TU Delft (Netherlands) with support of the Walter-Benjamin-Program of the DFG.

Martin Skrodzki’s research interests include the visualization of high-dimensional data, discrete geometry processing as well as interactions between mathematics and art. They are also set between Computer Science and Mathematics. He is concerned about all issues related to point and data sets. This includes the acquisition of point sets via 3D-scanning or higher-dimensional forms of data collection as well as their processing afterwards. Key terms for the latter are denoising, cluster algorithms, and visualization. In regard to visualization, he is interested in illustrations of mathematics in the broadest sense, including, e.g., virtual reality, 3D printing, and computer animations.

Please visit the personal homepage of Martin Skrodzki for more information.

On the occasion of the 30th Kovalevskaya Lunch on 12 May, the “International Women in Math Day”, Tanja Fagel, MATH+ Gender & Diversity Manager, gave us interesting insights into the popular tradition of the lunch in an interview. She describes the importance of the event for young female mathematicians, who experience female professors very closely as role models and can ask burning questions in a direct exchange.


The “Kovalevskaya Lunch” is coming up to its 30th anniversary this year, Congratulations! How will you celebrate?
It is a great reason to celebrate! Especially because the Lunch is being held on “International Women in Mathematics Day”, which is the 12 May. So it will be a double celebration.

Why was this event named after the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891)?
Sophia Kovalevskaya is a fantastic role model, because she was the first woman professor for mathematics worldwide, and she stood up for the right of all women to an education. The idea of the Kovalevskaya Lunch is to introduce women mathematicians to one another, giving young scientists a chance to get to know other, more experienced women in their field who can serve as role models.

What was the reason and the goal for introducing this format and the event?
It is still the case that fewer women complete their doctorate in mathematics than men. Therefore, there are relatively few women professors of mathematics as role models for young women. On average, only about 12 percent of math professors are women. That means it can easily happen that a woman student or doctoral candidate completes an entire study course without having come across a single woman professor. The Kovalevskaya Lunch aims to help redress this balance in a small way. The young women get the opportunity to meet a woman mathematician, get to know her, and ask her questions. There might be questions that they would not ask a man in the same position. The lunch itself is quite informal, with a few snacks and a pleasant atmosphere. At the beginning of the event, every participant takes a short moment to introduce herself. This makes it easier to ask questions later. Everyone is also provided with a name tag so it is easier to remember one another’s names. Often the participants are still busy talking long after the Lunch is over, when they get a chance to network and to maybe meet up again at the next Lunch.

Do you have a personal highlight from all of the Kovalevskaya Lunches? Which women mathematicians have fascinated you the most?
I have enjoyed all of the Kovalevskaya Lunches immensely. The guests and their career paths have been very diverse, and that is the beauty of it. I especially remember Ingrid Daubchies (at the Lunch on 11 November 2011), who strongly urged the young women present to be very particular in their choice of life partner. It is enormously important that it is someone who is willing and able to support them. In a very different way, Sujatha Ramdorai (at the Lunch on 2 June 2017) was also special because of her tremendous energy. She was so unbelievably inspiring, captivating the young women – and me too. Another very different experience was with Maryna Viazovska (Lunch on 13 May 2022), who explained beautifully how mathematics gives her strength, especially since Ukraine had entered into a war only a few months previously, which was a huge challenge for Marya as a Ukrainian woman. Nevertheless, she exuded this calmness and she is in possession of a very engaging dry sense of humor – I will also certainly remember that Lunch for a very long time.For me, the great charm of this event lies in hearing from these different characters, how they have handled challenges and doubts, what they find frustrating, and what or who in one way or another has given them strength or enriched them. That is very individual. I always find it interesting to hear the next guest, and I would like to advise our women students, doctoral students and postdocs to take part in several Kovalevskaya Lunches and encourage those who have not yet been to sign up for it.

How do young BMS/MATH+ women mathematicians respond to the offer?
It varies. I experience young women who come to almost every Lunch during their time at the BMS and are real fans of it. And then there are some that do not take advantage of the offer. The offer is voluntary and that is a good thing. A few years ago at a BMS celebration, a doctoral candidate approached me who was just about to finish her PhD. She told me how grateful she was to me for what I organized at the BMS. At the beginning of her master’s degree she had not understood why there were events just for women. During the course of her PhD she realized how important that offer had been for her and how much strength it had given her. Then she thanked me and hugged me with tears in her eyes. That was an overwhelming moment for me.

What would you wish for in terms of your work in “Gender & Diversity“?
There is a lot and this is just a small selection. Above all, I wish for more men to speak out for gender equality, equal opportunities, and fairness. That the insight prevails that it is the structures that hinder women and also other marginalized groups and that the women and marginalized groups themselves are not the problem. That excellence and gender equality are not in opposition to one another, but should only be addressed in combination. That more fathers take parental leave for just as long as mothers, and that this becomes even more natural. That young parents get so much support from their working environment that they can manage their family and their work without burning out. That the professorate gets more colorful in every way. And to close the circle: That women mathematicians are not only invited to the Kovalevskaya Colloquia, but also more often to the regular MATH+ Fridays. In some semesters that has already worked really well.

Thank you very much for the interview and the interesting insights and reviews!

Beate Rogler

After a two-year break, we are happy that the BMS Days 2023 took place in person again on 20 and 21 February at the Magnus-Haus in the heart of Berlin. We welcomed 27 of the best Phase I applicants from 17 different countries who were invited to spend a whole week in Berlin and also attend the Student Conference on 22-24 February at TU Berlin.

The BMS Days allow the BMS Admissions Committee to interview the applicants in person and also give them a preview of the opportunities offered by the BMS. The applicants got the chance to meet current BMS students and learn about life as a graduate student in Berlin. As usual, the program included an overview of the BMS graduate program and the research opportunities in Berlin, mathematical talks by MATH+ faculty members and Q&A sessions with faculty and students.


The mathematical lectures were given by Maite Wilke Berenguer (HU Berlin), Pavle Blagojevic (FU Berlin), Tobias Breiten (TU Berlin), Angela Ortega (HU Berlin), Martin Skutella (TU Berlin) and Vikram Sunkara (FU Berlin, ZIB) and gave a great impression of the mathematical community in Berlin.

The BMS Days were followed by the BMS Student Conference from 22 to 24 February, organized by the BMS student representatives. They offered invited talks by Claudio Arezzo (U Parma and ICTP) and Günter M. Ziegler (FU Berlin). Furthermore, several BMS students displayed the broad spectrum of Berlin's mathematical landscape by presenting their own research projects and talks on various topics. The highlight, as usual, was the praised “Wine and Cheese Party” at the end of the week.

Everyone enjoyed the well-organized event in the beautiful location opposite the Pergamon museum and the opportunity for a formal and informal get-together.

We hope to see most of our guests again soon when they start their BMS careers in the fall!