Welcome! I’m a 27-year old applied mathematician currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to using mathematics to make a difference in the lives of the most underprivileged people (and occasionally performing classical guitar solos), I am interested in sharing my perspective on mathematics and mathematicians with anyone interested in that subject. Instead of a detailed autobiography, I present my mathematical career as a sequence of milestones, arranged in chronological order.
1985 – I am born in Sverdlovsk, in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union. My dad is a mathematician turned computer programmer, my mom is a piano teacher.
1990 – I start reading my first book on mathematics, On the Traces of Pythagoras, deliberately left in my room by my dad, and enjoy it a lot.
1995 – I come across the entrance exam to the distance learning program for high-school students at the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of the Moscow State University, and successfully understand and solve about half of them.
1996 – My family immigrates to Montreal, Canada, where I continue my mathematical education by attending Sunday classes with Russian teachers in addition to my regular schoolwork.
2000 – I place in the top 3 in the provincial mathematics competition and participate in a week-long math camp, where I am constantly exposed to new mathematical topics.
2004 – I take an Intro to Computer Science class with Mathieu Blanchette for my Math and Computer Science degree at McGill University; he later invites me to do a summer research project on bioinformatics.
2005 – I take a Numerical Analysis class with Nilima Nigam and decide to focus on applied mathematics, rather than the number theory that I focused on up to now; I do a summer research project with her.
2006 – I am admitted to the PhD program in Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; my interests include numerical analysis, bioinformatics, and quantum computing.
2010 – I defend my PhD thesis, entitled Extracting Information from Biological Networks, most of which deals with metabolic network analysis applied to the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.
2012 – After spending two years in the corporate world and a month in India, I start a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, focusing on tuberculosis epidemiology.
I strongly believe that the ability to do mathematics (at any level) is a skill whose rudiments we are all born with, and which we can then develop by practice and expand by learning. As you can see from my biographical sketch, I was very fortunate to benefit from the best mathematics teachers and mentors I could wish for, starting with my dad and ending with my current postdoctoral mentor.
Unfortunately, most people are not so lucky, so it is no wonder that so few go into mathematics even though so many have both an ability as well as an interest in it. It is my hope that this blog will also provide a source of inspiration for aspiring mathematicians.