In Memoriam: Thomas Nevins
Thomas Nevins, 48, passed away Saturday, February 1, 2020. His innovative research focused on the interface between geometry, algebra and physics. He applied a geometric viewpoint and a strong emphasis on symmetries to a wide range of problems, uncovering the geometric structures underlying exotic quantum mechanical systems, relating many-body particle systems to solitonic waves, and constraining the possible shapes that arise in the study of supersymmetry in theoretical physics. One of our department’s most accomplished instructors, Tom was recognized in 2017 with the LAS Dean’s Award and the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Tom was also a highly regarded and devoted mentor. Most importantly, Tom was a kind and generous colleague and a good friend.
Tom received his undergraduate degrees in mathematics and philosophy from Notre Dame in 1993 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2000. Following a postdoc at the University of Michigan, Tom joined the Illinois faculty in 2004. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009 and to Full Professor in 2016. Six PhD students completed their theses under his direction, and he also mentored two postdoctoral fellows at Illinois, as well as many junior colleagues at other institutions.
Tom was an Associate in the Center for Advanced Study in 2014 and received a Simons Fellowship in 2017-2018. He was recognized by the American Mathematical Society as a member of the 2020 class of AMS Fellows.
Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute at Northwestern Memorial Foundation (541 N. Fairbanks Ct, Suite 800, Chicago IL 60611), to the Urbana Parks Foundation (in support of Carle Park), or to the Urbana Free Library Foundation.