In this photo, I am standing in front of Fine Hall, the building that houses the Princeton University Mathematics Department. The building was named after Henry Burchard Fine, a mathematician who played an important role in the early development of Princeton's mathematics program by encouraging many talented American and European mathematicians to join the faculty during his tenure as department chairman from 1904 to 1928. As a result of Fine's efforts, Princeton's mathematics department had become a powerhouse by the 1930s, when the faculty consisted of such stalwarts as Lefschetz, von Neumann, Wigner, and Steenrod. An entirely different Fine Hall from the one pictured was constructed in 1931, when the department was quite a ways smaller than it is today; in addition to housing the mathematics department, the old Fine Hall also served as a home for Einstein, Weyl, and other faculty members of the Institute for Advanced Study. The current Fine Hall was built in 1968 to accommodate an increasing population of professors and graduate students, and the old building was renamed as Jones Hall. The tower of the new hall is 13 stories high, and at ~183 feet, it is the tallest building on the Princeton University campus.
I am very excited to begin my pursuit of a Ph.D. in mathematics at Princeton in just under two weeks' time! As a first-year, my office will be somewhere in the basement, but if fortune is on my side, I might one day get bumped up to a higher floor, whence I will be able to enjoy the beautiful of view of Princeton and the surrounding countryside while I work.
I'm very grateful to have had this unique opportunity to share my story as a child of Indian immigrants on Instagram. Many thanks are due to the #PDSoros Fellowship for supporting my graduate work; it is indeed a great privilege to be a member of this community of passionate, thoughtful, and accomplished new Americans. I'm now handing things over to 2017 #PDSoros Fellow Bernardo Gouveia. -
Ashvin Swaminathan, 2017 #PDSoros Fellow