Satyan Devadoss

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Satyan Devadoss
Alma materNorth Central College
Johns Hopkins University
AwardsHaimo national teaching award
Alder national teaching award
Fellow of the AMS
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, topology, geometry
InstitutionsUniversity of San Diego
Williams College
ThesisTesselations of moduli spaces and the mosaic operad (1999)
Doctoral advisorJack Morava

Satyan L. Devadoss is the Fletcher Jones Chair of Applied Mathematics and Professor of Computer Science at the University of San Diego.[1] His research concerns topology and geometry, with inspiration coming from theoretical physics, phylogenetics, and scientific visualization.


Devadoss graduated as valedictorian from North Central College in 1993.[1] He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1999 from Johns Hopkins University, under the supervision of Jack Morava.[1][2] He was a Ross assistant professor at the Ohio State University under Ruth Charney and Mike Davis before joining the faculty at Williams College, receiving tenure and promotion to full-professor.[1] He has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley, the Ohio State University, Harvey Mudd College, the University of California, San Diego, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, and Stanford University.[1]


Devadoss is a recipient of the Henry L. Alder National Teaching Award (2007), the Northeastern Sectional Award for Distinguished Teaching (2014), and the Deborah and Franklin Haimo National Teaching Award (2016), all awarded by the Mathematical Association of America.[3][4]

In 2012, he became an inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[5]

Devadoss has also received the Nelson Bushnell Prize (2012) from Williams College, the Young Alumni Award (2008) from North Central College, and the inaugural William Kelso Morrill Award (1995) from the Johns Hopkins University.[1][6][7]


In 2017, Devadoss led a team at the University of San Diego to receive a $1,000,000 grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation[8] for the renovation of his mathematics department. The centerpiece of this renovation was his Math Studio, a laboratory that focuses on the physical questions surrounding mathematics research.[9][10][11]

With Joseph O'Rourke, Devadoss is a coauthor of the textbook Discrete and Computational Geometry (Princeton University Press, 2011).[12][13] With Matt Harvey, he is a coauthor of the tradebook Mage Merlin's Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries (MIT Press, 2020).[14] Devadoss was also recruited by the Great Courses to create the Shape of Nature, a 36-lecture video course focusing on the applications of geometry and topology to the natural world.[15]

He was a cofounder of CereusData, a data visualization company that focuses on storytelling of institutional data.[16]

Devadoss wrote an opinion editorial published by the Los Angeles Times (2021) on the tension between the usefulness and wonder of mathematics.[17] He also wrote an opinion editorial in the Washington Post (2018) on the nature of mathematics related to the humanities and the arts. It was chosen by the staff editors as one of their favorite opeds of the year.[18][19]


In 2018, he co-led a team in designing, creating, and showcasing a two-ton metal, wood, and acrylic interactive sculpture titled "Unfolding Humanity" for Burning Man.[20] The 12-foot tall dodecahedral artwork, externally skinned with black panels containing 2240 acrylic windows, with the interior lined with mirrors and large enough to hold 15 people, dealt with unsolved questions in mathematics (unfolding polyhedra) and physics (cosmological shape of the universe).[21]

His collection of paintings, titled "Cartography of Tree Space" (jointly created with San Francisco-based artist Owen Schuh) has been on gallery shows in Berlin[22] and Pasadena.[23][24] As of 2023, the triptych of paintings is in the permanent collection of the Flaten Art Museum.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curriculum vitae, retrieved September 1, 2021.
  2. ^ Satyan Devadoss at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Henry L. Alder Award, MAA, retrieved January 16, 2015.
  4. ^ MathFest 2007 Prizes and Awards, MAA, retrieved January 16, 2015.
  5. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved January 16, 2015.
  6. ^ NCC Alumni award winners
  7. ^ William Kelso Morrill Award winners
  8. ^ Fletcher Jones Foundation
  9. ^ USD news
  10. ^ USD news
  11. ^ Times of San Diego, 09-10-2017
  12. ^ Fasy, Brittany Terese; Millman, David L. (March 2014), "Review of Discrete and Computational Geometry by Satyan L. Devadoss and Joseph O'Rourke", SIGACT News, New York, NY, USA: ACM, 45 (1): 27–30, doi:10.1145/2596583.2596591, S2CID 9912838.
  13. ^ Wood, Bill (December 29, 2011), Discrete and Computational Geometry, MAA Reviews, Mathematical Association of America.
  14. ^ MIT Press
  15. ^ Great Courses
  16. ^ CereusData, retrieved January 16, 2015.
  17. ^ LA Times oped, 08-22-2021
  18. ^ "Opinion | Our favorite Washington Post op-eds of 2018". The Washington Post. December 18, 2018.
  19. ^ A math problem for Pi day
  20. ^ Making of "Unfolding Humanity", retrieved February 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Notices of the AMS cover article, retrieved April 25, 2019.
  22. ^ SatelliteBerlin Archived March 1, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved January 15, 2016.
  23. ^ Williamson Gallery, retrieved January 15, 2017.
  24. ^ Leonardo Uncertainty Review, retrieved February 1, 2016.

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