Robion C. Kirby is Board chair and chief executive of MSP, and a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley. An influential specialist in low-dimensional topology, he has had over 50 doctoral students and was the first mathematician to receive the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Award for Scientific Reviewing.
Alongside Colin Rourke, John Jones and Brian Sanderson, Rob was a founding editorial-board member of Geometry & Topology, MSP’s flagship journal. Through his work with GT and MSP, and by direct engagement with his fellow mathematicians, he has been instrumental in raising awareness of the financial problems faced by readers of scientific research, and what the scientific community can do about it. In 2013, the Special Libraries Association honored Rob’s work at MSP and elsewhere by awarding him their Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Division Award:
Dr. Kirby’s significant contributions with MSP benefit libraries and enhance the ability of librarians to provide service, and improve the exchange of information.
An outdoor enthusiast, Rob has spent many hundreds of days in the Sierras and the Canyonlands. He has ascended Kilamanjaro with his wife Linda, son Rolf, and daughter Kate; McKinley with his brother Doug; and the classic route on Half Dome with Mike Freedman and Dennis Johnson. He has also enjoyed many years of whitewater kayaking, with his first descents in the late 70s with Dennis Johnson and fine days since then with Joel Hass and Abby Thompson.
Alexandru Scorpan is MSP’s chief of operations. He was born near the shores of the Black Sea, in Romania, and arrived in the United States in 1997. In 2003, he received a PhD in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley under Rob Kirby, then pursued an academic career. During a postdoc at the University of Florida, he wrote a well-received 600-page monograph, The Wild World of 4-Manifolds, surveying topology in dimension 4. He finally admitted, “I’m not a puzzle-solver,” and abandoned the research track, but continued to teach college mathematics for several years.
Alex became involved with MSP in 2006, at first doing copyediting and design work. He returned to Berkeley and joined MSP full-time in mid-2010. He’s promised that one day he’ll finish writing that novel about Nero.
Silvio V. F. Levy is MSP’s director of publishing. He was born in 1959 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and received an MA in mathematics from the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in 1979 and a PhD in mathematics from Princeton University under William Thurston in 1985. In 1988 he became the second staff member for the Geometry Supercomputer Project, which would later become the Geometry Center. He joined the staff of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in 1995 as an editor and librarian.
Silvio considers his chief professional goal to be “to further the communication of mathematics, by both traditional and novel means.” He is an expert in TeX and LaTeX and speaks several languages. He joined MSP in 2004 as the main copyeditor for the Pacific Journal of Mathematics. Today, Silvio manages the production of MSP journals, and trains new copyeditors to edit and format manuscripts according to MSP’s specifications.
Silvio Levy’s work represents for me the gold standard of mathematical copyediting.
Emmy E. Pierce is MSP’s operations manager. She is responsible for managing the office, processing subscriptions, researching directions for MSP’s growth and development, and generally taking care of business. She joined our team in 2011, and her outstanding organizational skills have considerably increased our administrative efficiency.
Emmy is a graduate of Amherst College, Massachusetts, where she took exactly one math-related class (it was actually a theater course); gave class presentations on “Pokémon” franchise; and wrote her honors thesis on the anime films of Mamoru Oshii. She is deeply interested in media production, and has produced several audio segments for KPFA and the Amherst College Center for Community Engagement, as an associate producer and staff writer, respectively. Currently, she spends most of her free time reading, drawing, writing, and occasionally auditioning for community theater.
Morgan A. Johnson is a communications specialist at MSP. Between tasks in the office, she contemplates the relationship between art and mathematics. Before joining MSP, Morgan did things like sell rocks to rock stars at an art shop in the Mission, shoot and edit experimental shorts, and wardrobe for the feature film I believe in unicorns that premiered at SXSW 2014. Now she edits author metadata more than video. She lives in her hometown of Berkeley with her four year old son Zeke, and they enjoy camping, cooking together, and growing vegetables and flowers.
Mark E. Flanagan started with MSP by training as a production editor in 2013. In 2014, he started working full-time as a software developer. He is a lover of science and figuring out how things work. This is good because as a software developer he spends most of his time figuring out how things work (and then changing them slightly).
Mark lives along the Hudson River in Peekskill, NY, with his wife Lisa Bromberg, who is a former MSP production editor. He has too many hobbies, so only occasionally can he afford to spend time on any one of them. They include, but are not limited to: bicycle riding, playing video games (usually the 10-year-old kind), baking bread, brewing beer, roasting coffee, putting plants in pots, playing bass guitar in as many types of bands as possible, and using serial commas.
Andrew J. Livingston knows a little bit about programming, which is good because he’s been a software developer at MSP since 2016. He knows a little bit (emphasis on little) about a lot of other things, including music, animals, quantum physics, history, chemistry, nineteenth-century Russian literature, science fiction, valuations and ultrametric spaces, and the LucasArts adventure-game catalog. And since human nature abhors a narrative vacuum, he’ll happily tell you how any two of those things fit together.
When he’s not working (and sometimes when he is) he usually has a cat hanging off of him. He might also be trying to understand Haskell by way of type theory, or reading a book on Judaism or early Christianity. There’s a better than even chance he’s listening to a podcast or watching a video lecture series. Unless it’s April, in which case he’s probably playing the latest release in the Dark Souls series.
Joseph D. F. Adams has two middle names. In spite of this, he was hired as a software developer at MSP in December 2016. His interest in computer programming began with multiplying really big integers together, and two years after quitting high school he decided to go to college, eventually earning a Ph.D. in mathematics (holomorphic dynamics and quasiconformal maps), with a specialization in eating cookies. A recovering mathematician, Joe faces occasional relapses, wherein he feels a deep urge to draw pictures of pairs of pants with too many legs.
Joe is inextricably linked to Southern California, where the mountains, beach, desert, and all-you-can-eat buffets are never more than an hour away. Outside of work, Joe is a fanatical rock climber, spending too much of his time subjecting his skinny fingers to punishment they never deserved. He once ate 2877 shrimp for dinner and vowed never to do that again; a few years later, he thought it would be a good idea to eat 25 whole lobsters for lunch. In addition to wiping out ecosystems, Joe also enjoys enhancing them: He maintains a garden of potted plants, including avocado, chili, dragon fruit, and grapefruit that he nurtured from seeds.
Matthew B. Tucker-Simmons came to California in 2005 for mathematics, but stayed for love (of many things, including avocados, the nice climate, and especially his wonderful wife Lisa). He finished his PhD on topics of quantum algebra and noncommutative geometry at Berkeley in 2013.
Matt joined MSP as a production editor in the spring of 2014, after several months of post-PhD aimless wandering (spiritual, not physical). The job allows him to exercise his LaTeX skills, to keep on tweaking his .emacs file, and to keep his eye on developments in mathematics from a safe distance, all while giving him time to pursue interests like baking, making yogurt, fermenting things, and feeling self-righteous about his food choices. Matt is now in charge of our journals Geometry & Topology and Algebraic & Geometric Topology.
Matt resides with his ecologist wife and their (currently tiny) son in sunny Santa Barbara, and hopes one day to return to his native homeland of Canada, the land of polar bears, politeness, and single-payer health care. But he’s happy to be here until then.
Katie N. Ballentine is an engineer by birth and a mathematician by training, and she has been a production editor at MSP since 2015. She contracted spelling at an early age, followed by a severe case of grammar, and never recovered — meaning she’s having the time of her life. In 2011, she discovered people get paid to keep lists of typos in math books, and then she worked as a copyeditor for Mathematical Reviews (MathSciNet) until 2015, when she started freelancing and found her way to MSP.
She likes learning and isn’t picky about the subject, which has led to her acquiring skills and knowledge in areas as diverse as probability theory, fabric arts, electronics, astronomy, American history, and tennis. She grew up in Michigan and supports compulsory reeducation for apostate Detroit Lions fans (this could be the year!). Her hobbies include knitting, children, knitting things for children, holiday cheer, and knitting cheery things for children for the holidays.
Jeffrey J. Armstrong joined MSP in 2016. He grew up in rural Illinois but now lives in rural Japan. In between, he received a PhD in mathematics from Drexel University. He will tell you his research was on noncommutative geometry, unless you know what that is, in which case it was on higher categories. When he’s not fixing mathematicians’ grammar, he is usually fixing English students’ grammar. And when he’s not fixing anyone’s grammar, he’s usually reading comic books or banging on a piano. He also enjoys board games and anything and everything he finds while getting lost on Wikipedia, and will gladly talk far too much about all of these things.
Samson E. Black was raised in Texas by vegetarians who practice yoga and make art. His love of mathematics grows out of childhood aesthetic convictions that predate his learning to read, and a lot of messing around at a drafting table with a compass and straightedge. Sammy went to the West Coast, for college in California and then to graduate school in Oregon, eventually writing a dissertation about knots in 2010, straddling the disciplines of low-dimensional topology and quantum algebra.
Today, Sammy spends his time as a professor at an art college, a mathematician, and (since 2014) a production editor for MSP. At home, he loves to cook, fly kites, make stuff with cardboard and x-actos, climb trees, tumble, and read, read, read. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Margot (also a math instructor), his three children, two dogs, and two cats. Sammy is a political agitator and a bit of a contrarian, and can be frequently found at rallies in defense of the natural environment and human rights.
When he is not making costumes with his children or teaching them group theory (how do you turn your shirt inside out with it ending up backwards?) he can be overheard losing debates with his wife – a master of rhetoric – about politics. Sammy is always on the lookout for a new place to plant a garden, a new path to bike, and a new regular expression to invoke.
John G. Bourke joined MSP in summer 2014. He grew up in Cardiff, the capital of Wales and recent home of Doctor Who. He spent most of his undergraduate career at Merton College, Oxford, playing pool, then moved to the US to do his PhD in set theory at Dartmouth College. After short stints in central Pennsylvania and Kalamazoo, Michigan, he has happily returned to New Hampshire while his wife studies astrophysics, also at Dartmouth.
When not editing or teaching mathematics, John walks his overly energetic dog and enjoys the hiking New England offers during the warmer months. He’s learned to tolerate the long winters, and is proud of his whisky collection. His indoor hobbies include binge-watching TV serials, learning to code, cooking, and following Welsh rugby and the Red Sox.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Ramsay H. Dyer’s education in physics, mathematics, and computer science was interspersed with extended periods of tree-planting, travel, and odd jobs in construction. He also developed a great appetite for exploring the British Columbia mountains and coastline by foot, ski and kayak.
Ramsay joined MSP in 2015, and after living in Europe as a postdoc for almost five years with his wife and cat and dog, he has now returned with them to British Columbia to enjoy the mountains and sea and a little house with a wood cookstove on the wet coast of Vancouver Island.
In addition to editing, he continues to do part-time research in computational geometry through the Gudhi project at INRIA Sophia Antipolis. He has ambitions to eventually regain the ability to write something that doesn’t mention Delaunay triangulations.
Joseph D. Flenner has been a production editor with MSP since 2015. He hails from Michigan, where he studied mathematics and linguistics at the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate he accidentally became a mathematician, setting out to learn science from its foundations before fully grasping how many lifetimes step one of the master plan would fill.
The same impulse, applied within mathematics, led him to logic, with his research interests focusing on the intersection of model theory and algebra. In 2008, he completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. After several postdoctoral years in Indiana, he landed in Virginia, where he is an instructor of mathematics, with editing work filling summers and after hours.
When not teaching, researching, or editing, Joe likes to seek out maximally impractical hobbies, such as learning languages that nobody speaks and musical instruments that are too large to fit in his home.
Andreas L. Freund started working as an MSP production editor in 2012, while working toward his BA in applied math at the University of California, Berkeley. This ideal job puts to use his almost unhealthy attention to detail and need for consistency in a productive manner, while additionally allowing him to promote the readability of math and proper use of the English language. He also thinks that elegant typesetting is cool.
When more important things don’t get in the way, Andreas can often be found riding one of his bicycles on roads, dirt, or velodromes. He began racing in 2005 and still hasn't gotten sick of it. But when his legs require time to recover, Andreas enjoys the finer things in life such as watching TV and listening to hip-hop, R&B, and pop music of the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2014, he also began work on a PhD in applied math at the University of Washington.
Derek S. Habermas grew up in New Jersey, where he tried to pursue his dream of opening his own coffeehouse. Due to a lack of funding and investors and since the market was saturated (thank you, Starbucks) he went with his fallback plan to earn a PhD in Mathematics, which he did in 2006 from the University of Arizona. After nine years as faculty at SUNY Potsdam, he moved to Charleston for closer relatives and warmer climes. He still teaches college-level mathematics, as well as courses on motorcycling.
After joining MSP as a production editor in 2015, he rediscovered the grammar geek inside him that had been dormant since his devastating loss in the fifth-grade spelling bee (austere, a-u-s-t-i-e-r, austere). His other interests (that is, things that he has far too little time to actually do) include bicycling, motorcycling, hiking, traveling, playing board games and brewing his own craft beer.
Fintan Hegarty is a native of Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. While working on his PhD in computational homology there, he began producing a monthly university chess newsletter. This utterly failed to grab the attention of anyone whose attention he wished to grab at the time, so he started sneaking mathematics into the publication in a valiant effort to increase readership. Surprisingly, that did not work at all, but it did contribute to a fondness for LaTeX, which eventually led to him joining MSP as a copyeditor in 2016. Now he feels equally uncomfortable saying “math” or “maths”.
When not teaching or editing, he likes to play guitar and underwater chess. Fanciful long-term goals include acquiring a boat and an Erdős–Bacon–Sabbath number.
Rylan Hunt grew up in Santa Cruz County, grabbed Bachelors’ in physics and applied math from UC Berkeley, then started with MSP, who now funds his surfing addiction back at home. Rylan nearly escaped the seduction of the ocean in high school due to his track experience as a standout miler and his strong cross-country team. He kept mostly dry through college, focusing on physics and math, with a little music in the space between breaths. Rylan enjoys theories of everything, geometry, and free improvisation for guitar and cello.
After graduating, Rylan got stoked again. He is now under the influence of the wind, tide and swell. In the space between the waves, he reads and trims the papers of brilliant mathematicians, plus a little tutoring on the side. There’s more physics in future, but for now the cold water and good surf is good for the soul.
Blake A. Knoll started working for MSP in the spring of 2016. He grew up in the Four Corners region of the United States, near Durango, Colorado. After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines, he decided that nuclear engineering (and all related physics-based tomfoolery) was for the birds, and instead started to dabble in the world of scientific publishing. After suffering horrific experiences involving poorly edited works in his graduate studies, he decided to join the front in the war against bad grammar by becoming a copyeditor at MSP.
When not hunting down errant commas, Blake can be found either on the ski slopes near Denver, Colorado (his current residence) or on the local dance floor. He loves to swing dance, and competes in his absolute favorite style of dance, West Coast Swing. His other hobbies include fly fishing, mountain biking, and being a Monday-morning quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
Sikimeti Ma’u joined MSP as a production editor in 2015. Originally from the islands of Tonga in the South Pacific, she was an undergraduate in Auckland, New Zealand, where by studiously avoiding essays and experiments she turned into a mathematician. She moved to New Jersey for graduate school at Rutgers University, and received a PhD in mathematics in 2008. After spending several exciting years as a postdoc in the hyperactive field of symplectic topology, based mostly in Berkeley, she moved to Italy.
She now lives with her family on an island in the Venice lagoon. She teaches math in Venice and Verona, edits math wherever she happens to be, and occasionally works on more concrete things, like sewing or basketry for her own pleasure, or making playdough for someone else’s. The Dolomites are nearby for hiking and skiing, and she’s quite a fan of the Italian way of enjoying the great outdoors — no matter how long or grueling a hike is, it always ends at a mountain hut with a fabulous restaurant.
Sheila S. Newbery has been an MSP production editor since 2007. She has worked on preparing manuscripts for publication for over 25 years, in disciplines ranging from art history (at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) to astrophysics (freelance work for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference series).
Sheila is also a photographer, and is currently working on an artist’s book of platinum-palladium prints. Her work has been exhibited in juried shows across the country. Her editorial portraiture has appeared in publications such as Der Spiegel, School Library Journal and Classical Music Magazine (UK), among others. She is keenly interested in music, and serves on the board of the San Francisco-based chamber group Voices of Music.
Adam D. Towsley began as a production editor for MSP in the spring of 2016. He received a BA in mathematics from Cornell University. Upon graduating he followed a girl (now his wife) to Nashville TN, where he lived and taught mathematics. In 2007 he dragged his wife back to cold and snowy upstate NY to get a PhD in arithmetic dynamics from the University of Rochester.
Since graduating, Adam has spent time at several colleges and universities before landing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he teaches mathematics while not editing for MSP. Outside of mathematics he spends most of his time chasing his two young sons, cooking, traveling, and trying to watch Mets games.
Elizabeth A. Weaver is a native of Illinois and grew up close to St. Louis, Missouri. This has endowed her with a love of Cardinals’ baseball and toasted ravioli. She attended college in Cape Girardeau, which is now worth mentioning since the movie Gone Girl was filmed there. She finished her PhD on algebraic coding theory in 2012 at the University of Kentucky, where her advisor taught her how to be a mathematician, and she taught her advisor about the rudiments of American culture, such as the joy of funfetti cupcakes and how to pronounce “Chicago”.
Elizabeth has been an MSP production editor since 2014, and currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband Dennis, who is also a mathematician. She never planned on spending so many years in Kentucky, but has grown to love it there. She enjoys the great food, fantastic fireworks, and has been indoctrinated into the Big Blue Nation — Go Wildcats!
Erika A. Willaford joined MSP as a production copyeditor in 2016. Erika grew some of the abilities she uses as a copyeditor from seeds planted by two strong women. The first of the two, her mother, introduced Erika to the joy of numbers. The second, a notoriously stern teacher in Erika's elementary school, taught Erika and her classmates the elements of English grammar in what was, even decades ago, an old-school style. Unlike many of her peers, Erika loved it.
Erika’s academic and professional career in mathematics led her
from her childhood home of Pennsylvania through northeast Ohio and northern Indiana (Go Irish!)
finally to the Pacific Northwest, where she has lived since 2007.
Erika enjoys hiking with her husband;
as of October 2016, they are roughly 2,600 miles short of completing the Pacific Crest Trail.
The two make faster progress buying and playing eurogames and deck-building games.
Erika also enjoys making vegetarian meals, homemade jokes and
bad puns. Erika also enjoys making vegetarian meals, homemade jokes,
and bad puns.
Michele L. Collender is a senior data-integrity specialist at MSP. After graduating from Mills College in Oakland, Michele grew attached to the Bay Area and settled to work in Berkeley. She was drawn to MSP by her interest in publishing and library science, along with her knowledge of computer science and math.
Outside work, Michele enjoys spending time outdoors. Over the past few years she has been able to travel and practice her passion of lead climbing in Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Mammoth. She grew up on the granite rocks of Yosemite and has had a love and respect for the beauty of nature ever since. She hopes some day to climb the infamous El Capitán in Yosemite Valley. A third-generation library volunteer, Michele loves reading, learning, and spending time with artists, freaks, and free thinkers.
Zara J. N. Benner is a data-integrity specialist at MSP who received her BA in Theatre Arts and Japanese Language at the University of Arizona. She grew up in Tucson, AZ, but also lived in Japan and New York City before settling in the Bay Area, where she continues to perform. In the past, she has held such jobs as book seller, tea expert, language teacher, hair stylist, and baby charmer.
In her free time, Zara enjoys crafting, cooking, gardening, and reading. She also loves historical fashion and hair, and enjoys sporting costumes at Renaissance festivals, the Dickens Christmas Fair, and various Comic-cons. She is an unabashed geek who is not afraid to admit that most of her (admittedly small) knowledge of math prior to working at MSP was derived from things like Star Trek and The X-Files.
Jae D. Morosin is a data-integrity specialist at MSP. Originally from southern California, she migrated north to attend UC Berkeley. After graduating with a degree in gender & women’s studies, she spent time working and volunteering as an archivist. Her love of data management, academia, and creating order is what drew her to this position at MSP.
In her spare time, Jae works on her personal archives of vintage clothing and photographs. As a history nerd she is interested in investigating her genealogy and the patterns in material culture throughout her family’s history. She also enjoys traveling, coffee, flea markets, and is a self-proclaimed vegan donut connoisseur.