Bharath Sriraman — Department of Mathematical Sciences
Born in Bangalore, India, to a father who was a captain in the merchant marine, Bharath Sriraman didn’t take long in becoming a global citizen. By age 13 he had already sailed around the world.
At 17 Sriraman decided to become a sailor himself. He spent the next three years working on cargo ships that sailed to the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Far East, the Caribbean, Western Europe and the Americas. Working with international crews helped solidify his fluency in eight languages and his conversational skills in a smattering of others.
Sriraman left his seafaring life to attend college in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in two and a half years. In 2002, Sriraman accepted a position in UM’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, which is known for its high faculty-to-student ratio. Here, his teaching and research interests have taken flight.
Sriraman’s research takes him around the world. In Norway, he studies the complex combinatorial algebra within the weavings of the native Sami people. In Iran, he explores motivation among high school math students to improve teaching methods. He is currently in the process of establishing an international society on interdisciplinarity. In his seven years at UM, Sriraman has founded two academic journals, taught 29 different courses, published more than 200 articles and has been invited to give more than 100 lectures in 23 countries. But at the core of Sriraman’s research is the belief that math is about much more than numbers.
“It’s a lens through which you can see the world,” he says. “It’s about seeing with new eyes. The world is the same, but if your eyes change a little bit, what you perceive will be completely different.”