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Special Spotlight Insert

Aceves’ math passion leads to opportunities across globe

By Michael Padilla

Alejandro AcevesMath may seem like a bunch of complicated problems and numbers for some, but for Alejandro Aceves, professor of mathematics and statistics, it represents an opportunity to work with people from different countries and cultures.

“It doesn’t matter where you do science and mathematics,” he said. “Math is a universal language.”

In his 14th year at UNM, Aceves works with national and international researchers and scientists. He makes every attempt to bring international students to UNM to study math.

Next semester he will work with five undergraduates and one graduate student as part of the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities program, designed to expose students to math, science and engineering.


“We will always need to reach out to our international and post-doc students. When you work with people from other countries you see the world in a different way.”
— Alejandro Aceves


A globetrotter, Aceves has been invited to conduct research and present in various countries including Scotland, Portugal, Germany, Canada, Italy and Mexico. Aceves says he is most proud of delivering the prestigious David Alcaraz Annual Lecture at the Universidad de Mexico in 2001.

“My passion comes from using math as a tool for understanding and solving problems in science and engineering,” he said. “I am particularly passionate on the applied side as it gives me an opportunity to have interactions with scientists and engineers in other disciplines.”

His research interests are in nonlinear optics, nonlinear wave propagation, soliton theory, particle dynamics in accelerators and dynamical systems. He has authored and coauthored more than 40 publications.

A UNM Regents Lecturer from 1998-01, he received numerous awards including best department graduate instructor twice and an outstanding faculty award. He is active with the Consortium of the Americas for Interdisciplinary Science at UNM.

Originally from Mexico City, Aceves received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, master’s from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., and bachelor’s from the Universidad de Mexico.

He enjoys world travel, and has three kids to prove it. Each was born in a different country — Scotland, Mexico and the U.S.
He and his wife, Adriana, a lecturer II in the UNM Mathematics Department, joke that they can't stay in a country for more than nine months.