Ping Xu named Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar

September 11, 2012

Ping Xu, professor of mathematics at Penn State, has been named an Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar. The title is given in recognition of a sustained record of extraordinary achievement in research and education. Holders of this position have had a profound effect on their fields through creative innovation and internationally acclaimed scientific leadership, as well as exceptional accomplishments in teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

Xu is internationally recognized as a prominent leader in Poisson geometry -- a field of mathematics with origins in mechanics that is closely related to contemporary physics. His research has had enormous impact on the development of the field in the last two decades and has earned him frequent invitations to serve on the scientific committee of the Poisson Biannual Conference, which is the most prestigious international congress in the field. Notably, Xu coinvented the notion of Courant algebroids in 1997, laying the foundation for generalized geometry, which has become a very active research area in mathematical physics due to its close connection with string theory -- a subfield of theoretical physics. Also in the 1990s, Xu codeveloped the theory of Lie bialgebroids, which has led to the development of a branch of Poisson geometry called multiplicative structures. Xu also is recognized worldwide for a recent series of foundational works on differentiable stacks and twisted K-theory, which have played a major role in the development of some of the mathematical foundations of string theory.

Xu has been invited to deliver many lectures at scientific symposia across the world, including the Pathways Lectures at Keio University in Japan in 2005 and the Nachdiplom Lectures at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich in Switzerland in 2009. He received a teaching award from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Mathematics in 1995 and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1993. He has published more than 60 papers in premier scientific journals, co-authored a monograph in the Astérisque collection of the French Mathematical Society, and coedited two books in the Progress in Mathematics series. Xu currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Travaux Mathématiques.

Xu is committed to developing the next generation of mathematicians. He has advised two undergraduate researchers through the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, 10 graduate students, and 14 postdoctoral research fellows. His mentoring also has reached across Europe, as he served on the committees of 12 doctoral students in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.

Xu has been involved in the organization of numerous national and international conferences in mathematical physics. In 2003, he co-founded an annual summer-school workshop in geometry and physics, which by next year will already have been held on four continents: North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and is sponsored by Penn State and local universities. In addition, Xu coorganized thematic trimesters at the Erwin Schroedinger Institute in Austria in 2006, and the Institut Henri Poincare in France in 2007. He also is a cofounder of the annual workshop series "Higher Structures in Mathematics and Physics," which has become one of the most important events in the field.

Xu received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Peking University in 1984 and a doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990. He was an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 1995. After joining the Penn State faculty in 1995, Xu was promoted to associate professor in 1998, and to professor in 2002. In 2010, he was also appointed the title of professor of modern geometry at the University of Luxembourg. Xu also has held visiting professorships at numerous institutions around the world.


  • Ping Xu, professor of mathematics at Penn State

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015