Adriana Salerno

Bates College


I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, where it was not common for girls to like math. In fact, I think the main reason I went into math and loved it was because my mom loved it so much too. Having a female role model in my life definitely made it easier for me to study mathematics, even when it was challenging. I got my Licenciatura en Matematicas from the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas in 2001. College was tough, as I was often reminded that I "didn't belong.” Still, I had enough supportive people in my life that I persevered, and I attended The University of Texas at Austin and got my Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2009. Grad school was a wonderful time, and tough too, but in a different way – the math was challenging, but I felt supported and welcome by everyone around me. I went to Bates College straight from graduate school, and I love the small liberal arts college environment, my students, and my colleagues.

These days I split my time between continuing my research in number theory, doing service and outreach for the mathematical community (I was the Visiting Mathematician at the MAA in the Fall of 2016), traveling to give talks and participate in workshops (I have given talks in every continent except for Antarctica!), teaching active learning classes at Bates College, writing about math or about being a mathematician for different outlets (check out my AMS blog, inclusion/exclusion), and trying to inspire other women and underrepresented minorities to pursue mathematics, through mentoring and teaching (I am a proud member of AWM and SACNAS). I love being a mathematician, but I especially love that it gives me so many different ways to connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds and all over the world.

My research is in number theory, broadly defined. I love interconnections between different areas of mathematics, and I love that number theory is a natural place for finding those connections. I am working on many different projects: exploring number theoretic implications of mirror symmetry, which is a conjecture arising from string theory in physics; studying properties of multiple zeta values, which connect analysis, number theory, combinatorics, and algebra; exploring p-adic power series and their relation to dynamical systems; and I even recently wrote a paper with a student on number theory and origami! I owe much to my mentors and collaborators, and I feel that my most important research skill is picking these people well. I am also very grateful to have been supported by the AWM for many of these projects.