Dennis Sullivan, a theoretical mathematician who has specialized in topology, geometry, dynamical systems, quantum theory, and fluid dynamics, was named Albert Einstein Chair in Science (Mathematics) in 1981. Sullivan’s work has been acknowledged by the 2010 Wolf Prize, for his work in algebraic topology and conformal dynamics; the National Medal of Science in 2005; the 1993 King Faisal International Prize in Science, for his work on universality in one-dimensional dynamics; the 1981 Élie Cartan Prix en Géometrie from the French Academy of Sciences; the 1971 Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry, for his work on the Hauptvermutung in Topology, from the American Mathematical Society; and the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, in 1997.
Sullivan is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the New York Academy of Sciences, and a former vice president of the American Mathematical Society. Before coming to the Graduate Center he held positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University, and he had a long research association (1973–1996) with the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques outside Paris.
At the Graduate Center, Sullivan runs a regular seminar that pursues the connections between topology and the mathematical models of nature provided by quantum field theory and fluid mechanics. Currently, Sullivan also serves on the mathematics faculty at SUNY Stony Brook. He received his B.A. from Rice University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.