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UC Riverside's Ivan Penkov Receives Prestigious Appointment

UC Riverside's Ivan Penkov Receives Prestigious Appointment at Yale

(June 2, 2003)

Ivan Penkov, professor of mathematics, will be a visiting professor at Yale Univeristy in the fall semester of 2003.

Ivan Penkov, professor of mathematics, will be a visiting professor at Yale Univeristy in the fall semester of 2003.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- ( -- It's not New England's spectacular fall foliage but mathematics that will take UC Riverside's Ivan Penkov to Connecticut this year. Penkov, who is professor of mathematics, will be a visiting professor at Yale University during the fall semester of 2003, an appointment that is both prestigious and an honor.

At Yale, Penkov will conduct joint research with several Yale faculty, in particular with Prof. Gregg Zuckerman. He will also teach a graduate course on his research program which will incorporate work that he did at UC Riverside with his students. The course will also discuss his work done in collaboration with colleagues at UC Berkeley and in Europe.

At Yale, Penkov and Zuckerman will work together on outlining approaches to a classification of generalized 'Harish-Chandra modules.' "The mathematician Harish-Chandra is famous for his mathematical description of a fundamental class of representations of 'Lie groups,' nowadays called Harish-Chandra modules," said Penkov. (A Lie group is a group, in the sense of abstract algebra, that locally resembles a line, a plane, or space.) "Harish-Chandra made some crucial steps towards the classification of these representations, which other world leaders in mathematics then completed in a monumental effort."

Penkov explained that Yale's Prof. Zuckerman has also made significant contributions towards the classification. Indeed, an important tool for constructing Harish-Chandra modules is called the 'Zuckerman functor.'

Penkov, Zuckerman, and Vera Serganova of UC Berkeley have published papers that address the construction of generalized Harish-Chandra modules. "The problem is so complex that we really can't have a quick solution," said Penkov. "Our approach is an exploratory one. At Yale, we will think about concrete tactics for classification in the simplest nontrivial cases."

The graduate course Penkov will teach at Yale will be devoted to recent work he has done at UC Riverside with his former graduate students, Ivan Dimitrov and Dimitar Grantcharov. "I hope to outline the beginnings of generalized Harish-Chandra module theory and the status quo on the subject. A good number of Yale faculty work in related areas, which makes my visiting Yale for a semester this year very exciting for me. We hope to generate much interest in the subject."

Penkov, who came to UC Riverside in 1991, is deeply involved in the California Lie Theory Program, a program that his colleagues on several UC Campuses have embraced. The program's purpose is to exchange ideas among active researchers in Lie theory and to stimulate graduate students by putting them in direct contact with researchers from other UC campuses. "The program benefits students from smaller campuses, such as UC Riverside, since it enables our students to see the entire spectrum of research potential in the UC system."

Now in its 12th year, the California Lie Theory Program has been recognized as a huge success. The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently renewed the funding for the program for three more years via a joint grant to UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz.

"We will get $20,000 per year from NSF and $4,000 matching funds from UC per year," said Penkov. "UC Riverside will contribute $1,000 per year."

Penkov leaves for Yale in mid-June 2003.

The UC Riverside Department of Mathematics has two dozen faculty members whose research covers a broad range of specialties, including algebra, analysis, geometry, topology, mathematical physics and combinatorics. Degrees offered include Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. Over 100 doctorates have been awarded in the 39 years since the graduate program began.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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