Karin Melnick of the University of Maryland, College Park, has been awarded the AMS Joan and Joseph Birman Fellowship for Women Scholars for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Melnick’s research is on differential-geometric aspects of rigidity. This work comprises global and local results relating the automorphisms of a differential-geometric structure with the geometric and topological properties of the space. Melnick also works in smooth dynamics, in which an invariant differential-geometric structure plays an important role in the proof of rigidity theorems. Melnick is a leader in research on the Lorentzian Lichnerowicz conjecture, a statement about conformal transformations of compact Lorentzian manifolds. Together with collaborators, she has developed new techniques in the setting of Cartan connections that have facilitated progress on this problem, as well as many results for other differential-geometric structures and general parabolic Cartan geometries.

Brief Biography of Karin Melnick:

Melnick received her PhD at the University of Chicago in 2006 under the direction of Benson Farb. With an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, she went to Yale University as a Gibbs Assistant Professor. She received a Junior Research Fellowship from the Erwin Schrödinger Institute in the spring of 2009 and that fall began at the University of Maryland, where she is now an associate professor. Previously, Melnick has been awarded an AMS Centennial Fellowship and an NSF CAREER grant. She divides her time between the U.S. and Germany with her partner and their young child, and is very grateful for the flexibility provided by the Birman Fellowship and the opportunities it provides to advance her research and career goals.  

About the Fellowship:

Established in 2017, the AMS Joan and Joseph Birman Fellowship for Women Scholars seeks to give exceptionally talented women extra research support during their mid-career years. The primary selection criterion for the Birman Fellowship, which carries a stipend of US$50,000, is the excellence of the candidate’s research. Read an interview with Joan Birman about her decision to create the Fellowship with the goal of "helping more women mathematicians to develop their creative voices." See more information about the Fellowship.