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College’s professor named Fulbright scholar

Ashley Charnley | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some of us receive new clothes around Christmas time. But visiting assistant mathematics professor Steven Broad received a free trip to research in Brazil.

Broad was chosen as a Fulbright scholar, which will allow him to travel to Brazil in the summer of 2010 to further his current research in differential geometry.

“Interestingly enough, I found out I received the grant the day we left for the Christmas holiday,” Broad said. “Right before we were leaving the house, [my wife] went to check the mail and there was a letter from Fulbright. It was paper thin, and that’s supposed to be bad news.”

But when his wife opened it, she had good news to share with him. 

Broad’s research is in differential geometry.

He said the Fulbright is an affordable way to complete his research.

“I always sort of knew about the Fulbright,” Broad said. “I have a collaborator who works and lives and Brazil and my dissertation advisor is from there originally. We had to figure out how I could go to Brazil for some extended period of time without having to pay for it.”

As an undergraduate, Broad studied mathematics and physics, and before he got a Ph.D., he wanted to be sure of what he wanted to do. He said he worked as a software engineer in order to give himself time to decide what field he wanted to pursue.

“I was always thinking about how I was going to get back,” Broad said.

After taking courses in analysis and complex analysis, Broad said he found something that interested him.

“People think of [mathematicians] as sort of insensitive to beauty and in fact really most of us are all about it,” Broad said. “The reason I study things in mathematics is because to some extent, they are beautiful.”

Broad taught at Notre Dame from 2006-09 before coming to Saint Mary’s in the fall of 2009.

“This is an extraordinary award and such an honor for Professor Broad and for the department. Having a faculty member of this stature in the math department is evidence of the academic strength of Saint Mary’s College,” Joanne Snow, professor and chair of the mathematics department, said in a press release.

“Professor Broad is an asset to the College due to his scholarly excellence as well his commitment to the mission of Saint Mary’s College, which includes helping women to develop their talents and prepare them to make a difference in the world,” Snow said.

After completing his time in Brazil, Broad will bring the information back to the United States and share what he has learned with the campus community.

“Here at Saint Mary’s, we care very much about the power and beauty of mathematics,” Broad said.