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Personal Profile of Prof. Dusa McDuff

Prof. Dusa McDuff
Helen Lyttle Kimmel '42 Professor of Mathematics

Home Page: https://www.barnard.edu/profiles/dusa-mcduff

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2300-3397

Dusa McDuff launched her career while she was a graduate student at Cambridge University (where she earned her PhD in 1971 under George Reid) when she solved a well-known problem about von Neumann algebras, constructing infinitely many different factors of type II-one. She traveled to Moscow in 1969–70 where she had the good fortune to study with Israel M. Gelfand. He shared her view of mathematics as a kind of poetry and was a great inspiration, encouraging her to study topology. McDuff returned to Cambridge for a two-year Science Research Council Fellowship, working with Frank Adams and later Graeme Segal. She was appointed Lecturer at the University of York (1972–76) and at the University of Warwick (1976–78), and spent 1974–75 at MIT.

McDuff has been in the United States since 1978, when she became an Assistant Professor in the mathematics department of Stony Brook University. Serving as Department Chair, 1991–93, and appointed as Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook in 1998, she has been concerned with educational issues at both undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as being active in encouraging more women to study mathematics. She joined the faculty at Barnard College in 2007.

McDuff has worked in symplectic topology since the early 1980s. She has written over 100 papers, as well as co-authoring three books with Dietmar Salamon, most recently J-holomorphic curves and Symplectic Topology (AMS Colloquium Publication 52, second edition (2012)).

McDuff has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, and, at MSRI (three times) as a mathematician, in addition to serving on MSRI’s Scientific Advisory Committee (1990–98, Chair 1993–96). She has served on the MSRI Board of Trustees (1998–2002 and 2005–present) and she was elected Chair (1998–2001).

Dusa McDuff has been awarded numerous honors including the Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 1991 and honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick and the Université de Paris. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1994 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995; she became a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2013. She was awarded the Sylvester medal of the Royal Society of London in 2018.
Current/Future Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Board of Trustees Mar 02, 2009 Feb 28, 2025
Committee on Women in Mathematics Chair (11/11/22-4/30/25) Oct 12, 2007 Apr 30, 2025

Past Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Board of Trustees Chair (4/1/98 - 4/1/01) Apr 01, 1998 Mar 10, 2002
Board of Trustees Mar 05, 2005 Mar 01, 2009
Committee on Public Understanding Chair (9/18/07 - 3/1/13) Sep 18, 2007 Feb 28, 2017
Committee on Trustees Aug 15, 2011 Feb 29, 2012
Committee on Trustees Sep 15, 2013 Feb 28, 2014
Finance Committee Apr 01, 1998 Apr 01, 2001
Long Range Planning Committee Apr 01, 2005 Apr 01, 2006
Scientific Advisory Committee Chair (4/1/93 - 4/1/96) Oct 01, 1990 Apr 01, 1998
Steering Committee Apr 01, 1998 Apr 01, 2001
Steering Committee Apr 01, 1993 Apr 01, 1996
Strategic Planning Committee Dec 01, 2016 Mar 31, 2018
  1. Workshop [HYBRID WORKSHOP] Introductory Workshop: Floer Homotopy Theory

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    Sep 12, 2022
    09:30 AM - 10:30 AM
      Floer Homology Foundations Pt 1
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
    Sep 14, 2022
    11:35 AM - 12:35 PM
      Floer Homology Foundations Pt 4
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
  2. Workshop Connections for Women: Enumerative Geometry Beyond Numbers

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    Jan 18, 2018
    09:00 AM - 10:30 AM
      An introduction to symplectic Gromov-Witten theory
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
    04:30 PM - 05:30 PM
      Panel Discussion
    Emily Clader (San Francisco State University), Eleny-Nicoleta Ionel (Stanford University), Dusa McDuff (Barnard College), Katrin Wehrheim (University of California, Berkeley), Lauren Williams (Harvard University)
  3. Summer Graduate School Summer Graduate Workshop: Symplectic and Contact Geometry and Topology

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    Aug 10, 2009
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM
      Introduction to Symplectic & Contact Geometry & Topology - McDuff I
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
    Aug 11, 2009
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM
      Introduction to Symplectic & Contact Geometry & Topology - McDuff II
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
    Aug 12, 2009
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM
      Introduction to Symplectic & Contact Geometry & Topology - McDuff III
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)
    Aug 13, 2009
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM
      Introduction to Symplectic & Contact Geometry & Topology - McDuff IV
    Dusa McDuff (Barnard College)