Dr. Ratnasingham Shivaji, head of UNCG’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was recently named a 2019 Fellow of the American Mathematical Society for research contributions, mentoring and leadership. Dr. Shivaji is one of only 65 mathematicians chosen this year from around the world to receive this prestigious designation.
“This is a lifetime achievement for me,” Shivaji said. “There are more than 30,000 members of the AMS, so to be selected among them is a great honor.”
Shivaji came to UNCG in 2011 after 26 years at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he served as head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, director of the Center for Computational Sciences and W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor, MSU’s highest honor. He currently serves UNCG as head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, as well as Helen Barton Excellence Professor. For more than seven years, Shivaji has brought to UNCG the same leadership and dedication to teaching and research excellence that helped him transform the MSU graduate program into one of the better departments in the South producing PhDs in mathematical sciences. Under his leadership, the research profile and PhD program at UNCG’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics have seen excellent growth, with improvement in recruitment standards and efforts, increases in external funding, implementation of several lecture series hosting researchers from around the world and more.
Shivaji has personally advised 13 PhD graduates, 15 master’s graduates and almost 25 research undergraduates, and has more than 145 publications in leading journals. His research work has applications in combustion theory, chemical reactor theory, and population dynamics, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Simon’s Foundation. Currently, he is serving as the primary investigator on an NSF Math Ecology grant.
For Shivaji, the driving force for his success in research and teaching excellence has always been a love for his students.
“Working with students is the best part of my life. I consider them welcome additions to my family,” Shivaji said. “I’m always excited when I work with students and see them understanding mathematics. For me, teaching and research go hand-in-hand. Research gives students the other side of mathematics. When you teach a class, you teach something that is known, whereas with research, I can involve my students on every level of the process and the students get the pleasure of discovery.”
The Fellows of the AMS designation recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. The American Mathematical Society is dedicated to advancing research and connecting the diverse global mathematical community through our publications, meetings and conferences, MathSciNet, professional services, advocacy, and awareness programs.
By Victor Ayala