Ben Thompson

2017 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow

Boston University, Mathematics
Fellowship Sponsor: American Mathematical Society
Fellowship Site: Voice of America

I'm a Mathematics PhD student at Boston University studying Algebraic Geometry.  I’m examining high-dimensional generalizations of a popular theorem in geometry which was first proven by Jean-Victor Poncelet, an engineer in Napoleon's army, while he was in a Russian prison camp.  The theorem involves the trajectory of billiards bouncing off an elliptical boundary, and can be proven using techniques from several disparate areas of math.  I am also interested in causal inference in time series analysis.

I believe the climate crisis is the story of the millennium and the defining responsibility of our time.  It is a problem that begins with science and so our response must begin with the effective communication of science.  To improve my science communication I became a NSF GK-12 fellow, spending two days a week in a middle school classroom as a “resident scientist.” I serve on the board of Better Future Project, the leading grassroots climate nonprofit in New England, and also as the chair of the Transportation Committee of Boston University's Climate Action Plan Task Force.  I’m currently using my experience as a climate activist to help plan the Boston March for Science.  After graduating I would like to find the way to use my academic background which most effectively advances a rapid and just clean energy transition.  This summer I’m excited to improve as a science communicator while I report for Voice of America.

When I’m not thinking about math or talking about climate change, you’ll probably find me on a bike or with my ukulele singing sad country songs and 80’s pop.

Fellowship publications at Voice of America

6/20/2017          Researchers Ask What Makes Young Syrian Refugees Resilient

6/26/2017          Pakistani Farmers Get Tips Via Text

6/27/2017          Review Shows Concussions Ignored in World Cup

6/30/2017          Tsetse Fly's Weakness May Be Its Symbiotic Bacteria

7/11/2017          Report: Cutting Food Source Leads to Dramatic Drop in Number of Mosquitoes

7/11/2017          Researchers Design Intervention to Stop Abuse of Mothers During Childbirth

7/13/2017          Scientists Investigate Link Between Pesticides and Bee Death

7/17/2017          Research Tries 'Shock and Kill' to Eliminate HIV

7/20/2017          Study: Payments to Uganda Farmers to Not Cut Down Trees Pays Off

7/25/2017          Test-tube Immune Systems Can Speed Vaccine Development

7/25/2017          Pesticides May Have Caused South Asian Children's Sudden Deaths

8/01/2017          Report: Climate Change Contributing to Increased Suicide Rates Among Indian Farmers

8/03/2017          Scientists: Deadly Heat Could Become New Normal

8/07/2017          Scientists Reprogram Cells' DNA Using Nanotechnology

8/09/2017          Efforts to End Viral Hepatitis in Indigenous People Show Promise

8/16/2017          Study: Simple Therapy Eases Effects of Violence Against Women