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Allan Greenleaf named a fellow of American Mathematical Society

November 24, 2014
Allan Greenleaf

Allan Greenleaf, a professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, has been named to the 2015 class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) (

The AMS awards fellowships to recognize “members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.” Greenleaf is being singled out for his “contributions to inverse problems with applications to cloaking, as well as for service to AMS.”

“Invisibility cloaks and electromagnetic wormholes sound like something from science fiction,” said Thomas Tucker, Chair of the Department of Mathematics. “The work of Allan and his collaborators, however, has shown that they are mathematically possible.”

Recent work by Greenleaf and his collaborators involved designing a state of “excited approximate cloaking.” The system—which they called “Schrödinger’s hat,” in reference to the famed Schrödinger’s cat in quantum mechanics—would hide a probe, even though it was capable of measuring barely detectable waves that had been amplified. In theory, the idea works for various kinds of waves—sound waves, electromagnetic waves (such as light), and even matter waves in quantum mechanics.

Greenleaf is the eighth faculty member associated with the University of Rochester to be honored as an AMS Fellow. The AMS named Alexander Iosevich, Professor of Mathematics, last year. Frederick Cohen and Douglas Ravenel, professors of mathematics, Joseph Neisendorfer, emeritus professor of mathematics and Samuel Gitler and John Moore, former members of the University of Rochester mathematics faculty, were named as fellows two years ago. Also named a fellow this year was Cesar Silva, a professor at Williams College who earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Rochester in 1984.

“It speaks very well of the University of Rochester’s Math department that almost a quarter of our tenure track faculty have been recognized in this way for research excellence,” Greenleaf commented.

The AMS Fellows program was started two years ago to honor members who have made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics. Greenleaf was one of only 63 mathematicians honored this year, out of approximately 29,000 members.

Greenleaf obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1981. He has been a faculty member in the mathematics department at Rochester since 1983. Greenleaf has also served as the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics from 2011 to 2014.

The American Mathematical Society, with headquarters in Providence, RI, was founded in 1888 to further the interests of mathematical research and scholarship.

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