Robert W. Easton
Robert W. EastonAssistant Professor of Mathematics

Who Am I?

I grew up in Lapeer, a small town in the thumb area of Michigan approximately twenty miles east of Flint and sixty miles north of Detroit. Raised to root for the maize and blue, it is perhaps unsurprising I attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate. I enrolled planning to major in math and physics, but sometime in my second year I narrowed my focus exclusively to math, with a particular interest in number theory (a subject more interesting than its name might suggest).

After graduating from Michigan, I moved out to sunny California to attend graduate school at Stanford. I arrived expecting to specialize in number theory, but during my second year I got my first taste of algebraic geometry and have been hooked on the subject ever since. Working with Professor Ravi Vakil, my thesis focused on the study of a special class of geometric objects known as S_3-covers of schemes.

After graduating from Stanford, I held a three-year VIGRE postdoctoral position at the University of Utah. During my time there, I began studying a new offshoot of algebraic geometry known as tropical geometry. In the fall of 2008 I spent a quarter visiting the University of Washington at the invitation of Professor Sandor Kovacs, and in the spring of 2009 I spent a semester at MSRI.

I finished my position at Utah in the spring of 2011, and in the fall of that year I began a tenure-track position at California Polytechnic State University (“Cal Poly”) in San Luis Obipso (“SLO”). I continue to work on problems in tropical geometry and recently wrapped up a project in the subject with Professor Aaron Betram. I have also begun enticing talented students to work with me on interesting undergraduate research problems. With any luck, I will have Cal Poly churning out legions of algebraic geometers by the end of the decade.

The Math Department at Cal Poly

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