Christina Sormani is a Full Professor of Mathematics at Lehman College and a member of the doctoral faculty in the Mathematics Department at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research is in the fields of Geometric Analysis and Mathematical General Relativity. As a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society commended for her research in geometry and for mentoring activities, she has served as an associate editor for the AMS Notices and given a plenary address at an AMS Sectional Meeting.
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Prof. Sormani is most well known for her work on Ricci and Scalar curvature and the convergence of sequences of manifolds. She regularly organizes workshops in this area for doctoral students and postdocs sometimes at CUNY but also in Canada and Mexico and at the Institute for Advanced Study and the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. Most recently she was the lead organizer of the 2020 Virtual Workshop on Ricci and Scalar Curvature that had over 200 participants from around the world. She enjoys bringing mathematicians together to work on developing and exploring conjectures at these events.
In collaboration with a local postdoc, Stefan Wenger, Prof. Sormani introduced the notion of intrinsic flat convergence in 2009. Her young collaborator was invited to speak at the next International Congress of Mathematicians. Professor Sormani has since presented this paper (and subsequent work applying the notion to questions arising in General Relativity) around the world. She has given short courses on this work at the Fields Institute, at the Hausdorff Institute in Germany, at USTC in China, and at LCSAS in Italy. She’s given short courses on earlier work of hers in Switzerland and in Scotland as well. Through these courses she has reached hundreds of mathematicians enabling them to apply her work in new directions.
The techniques of geometric analysis can be applied in many directions, not just physics. Prof. Sormani’s first CUNYGC doctoral student, Dr. Mike Munn, left a permanent lecturer position at NYU to work at Google New York. Her other doctoral students have landed postdoctoral positions at Bonn, Pisa, UNAM, IMPA, and Fordham, choosing to continue working in academia. Through the short courses and workshops, Prof Sormani has mentored postdocs from universities around the world. Some of the postdocs that she mentored a decade ago during a sabbatical at MSRI, are now tenure track faculty at top universities around the world while others have chosen to work in industry and finance.
The CUNY Graduate Center’s prime location near both Penn Station and Grand Central Station has earned it a position as the central meeting place for mathematicians from the greater New York area: leading to a wealth of seminars and many exciting collaborations. For Christina, it has the added advantage of being close to family: so that she has been able to raise her three children near their four grandparents and seven cousins. Having grown up in NYC (attending first PS 166 then IS 44 and Hunter College High School before finally commuting to NYU for a decade to earn a BA and PhD), Christina only left New York City for her postdocs at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. Upon the birth of her first child, she found a tenure track job at Lehman College close to home. Within five years she had two more kids, an NSF grant, tenure, and a position on the doctoral faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center. There were times when she almost left academia for industry herself, but with the strong faculty union at CUNY and significant financial support from the NSF, Christina Sormani’s career at CUNY has thrived. She hopes to continue working here for many years to come.