Marcus Fries is an Assistant
Professor at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. He received his
undergraduate degree in mathematics from North Dakota State University, his
Ph.D. from Northeastern University, and is now a friend and visitor of the
Center of Math. He sat down with our interns Tori and Zach last week to discuss his
research, his favorite class, and a lecture he would have liked to attend.
**Are you currently
involved in any research?**

Yes, I work with cotangent bundles of the grassmannian.

**So when did you first
become interested in math?**

At a very young age. But I actually started off at college
as a chemistry major, and I did a year of chem research, learned that under no
circumstances do I want to be a chemist. In Calculus II I had a great
instructor, and power series just interested me to no end. So that’s when I
made the switch.

**That was kind of “the
moment?”**

Yeah, power series were just so much fun.

**And do you credit
anyone in particular for guiding you to this career?**

Jim Coykendall and Jim Olsen, great mentors.

**What was your
favorite math class that you’ve ever taken, and what made it that way?**

Probably representation theory with Andre Zelavanski. I took
that in grad school. It wasn’t my favorite at the time, but it’s one of my
favorites now. I’ve really come to enjoy the field. It’s a part of what I do
now- I use representation. The spaces that I deal with, the grassmanian and
other spaces are all related to representation or Lie groups. I find it really
interesting.

**If you could attend a
class taught by any math professor living or deceased, whose class would it be
and why?**

I would have loved to attend Emmy Noether’s lectures on
algebra. That would be my top pick. Apparently she was just very
stream-of-consciousness, talking about whatever she wanted to talk about that
day. And it was such an exciting time, it was very foundational to commutative
algebra especially.

**Do you have any
general advice for students looking to pursue a degree in mathematics or a
career in the field?**

Realize that math is much broader than what you’re taught in
high school. There are lots and lots of different areas to study, and there are
a huge number of careers that you can go into with a math degree.

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Thank you so much for meeting with us, Marcus!