Carnegie Mellon University
July 24, 2021

Florian Frick Wins NSF CAREER Award

By Ben Panko

Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Florian Frick has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. These prestigious grants are designed to support promising research by early-career faculty. 

"This project attempts to solve problems across mathematics by artificially translating these problems into a geometric situation," Frick said of his project, titled "Geometric and Topological Combinatorics."  

Even for research questions that don't involve geometry, Frick said, a "geometric viewpoint" can be used to detect and analyze global phenomena. "The tools of geometry help you squint and take into account the aggregate of information a problem provides, instead of just a local picture," he explained. 

Understanding global phenomena or "the big picture" is a major challenge in data analysis, Frick noted. But even more importantly, Frick hopes his work will help build bridges between mathematical fields. 

"The mathematical research landscape has become increasingly fragmented over the last few decades," he said. "Projects that unify research areas and elucidate connections between seemingly disparate mathematical branches are crucially needed to make progress on mathematical problems that have resisted all attempts at a solution."