Michael J. Barany



photograph of Michael Barany

I grew up in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, where I attended Parkview Center School and Roseville Area High School, as well as the University of Minnesota (more or less continuously, in one form or another, from my infancy until high school graduation). I often played, studied, and eventually conducted research in my father's chemistry laboratory. My mother is a retired research chemist and high school teacher. My sister is a graduate student at UCSB. My wife Stephanie studies medicine at McGill University.

Though I could not reliably count past 29 when I began primary school, I was fortunate to benefit from many good teachers and opportunities for enrichment, eventually working in my last year of secondary school under Vic Reiner to write a program to compute Tutte polynomials for hyperplane arrangements. For my undergraduate degree at Cornell University, I studied mathematics and its history, sociology, and philosophy (these latter through the College Scholar Program). My undergraduate thesis (supervised by Mike Lynch) explored the ideas of witnessing and translation in mathematics. In 2006, I worked under Luke Rogers in an NSF REU program directed by Bob Strichartz on the topic of differential equations on fractals. I was an active resident of the Telluride House and in 2007 I became a board member for the Telluride Association. I also played trumpet and french horn with the CU Winds.

A Marshall Scholarship took me to St. John's College, Cambridge, for the 2008-9 academic year, and to the University of Edinburgh (where I was advised by Donald MacKenzie) the following year.

My two institutional homes at Princeton are the history and mathematics departments, where I am advised by (respectively) Michael Gordin and Charles Fefferman. I was an adjunct instructor in history at The College of New Jersey in Fall 2013.