Robert Bryant, Phillip Griffiths Distinguished Professor
My research concerns problems in the geometric theory of partial differential equations. More specifically, I work on conservation laws for PDE, Finsler geometry, projective geometry, and Riemannian geometry, including calibrations and the theory of holonomy.
Much of my work involves or develops techniques for studying systems of partial differential equations that arise in geometric problems. Because of their builtin invariance properties, these systems often have special features that make them difficult to treat by the standard tools of analysis, and so my approach uses ideas and techniques from the theory of exterior differential systems, a collection of tools for analyzing such PDE systems that treats them in a coordinatefree way, focusing instead on their properties that are invariant under diffeomorphism or other transformations.
I’m particularly interested in geometric structures constrained by natural conditions, such as Riemannian manifolds whose curvature tensor satisfies some identity or that supports some additional geometric structure, such as a parallel differential form or other geometric structures that satisfy some partial integrability conditions and in constructing examples of such geometric structures, such as Finsler metrics with constant flag curvature.
I am also the Director of the Simons Collaboration Special Holonomy in Geometry, Analysis, and Physics, and a considerable focus of my research and that of my students is directed towards problems in this area.  Contact Info:
Teaching (Fall 2024): (typical courses)
 MATH 323S.01, GEOMETRY
Synopsis
 Physics 205, MW 10:05 AM11:20 AM
 MATH 620.01, SMOOTH MANIFOLDS
Synopsis
 Physics 205, MW 08:30 AM09:45 AM
 MATH 723S.01, GEOMETRY
Synopsis
 Physics 205, MW 10:05 AM11:20 AM
 Office Hours:
 Wednesdays, 10:00AM12noon ET, and by appointment (please write to chair@math.duke.edu for appointments).
 Education:
Ph.D.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  1979 
B.S.  North Carolina State University  1974 
 Specialties:

Geometry
Mathematical Physics
 Research Interests: Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations and Differential Geometry
I'm interested in the geometry of partial differential equations (as always), but, more specifically, I have been thinking about conservation laws for PDE, Finsler geometry, calibrations, holonomy, and trying to learn more about SeibergWitten invariants and symplectic geometry.
 Areas of Interest:
exterior differential systems differential geometry algebraic geometry Finsler geometry
 Keywords:
Almost complex manifolds • calibrations • CR hypersurfaces • exterior differential systems • Finsler • Geometry, Differential • Global differential geometry • solitons
 Duties:
 Departmental Ombud
 Curriculum Vitae
 Current Ph.D. Students
(Former Students)
 Recent Publications
(More Publications)
(search)
 Buckmire, R; Beeton, B; Bryant, R; Gouvêa, FQ; Phillips, AV; Sullivan, D; Wolf, M, Michael Spivak: A Memorial,
Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 71 no. 6
(June, 2024),
pp. 786795 [doi]
 Bryant, R, The generality of closed G_2 solitons, edited by Cheng, SY; LimaFilho, P; Yau, SST; Yau, ST,
Pure and Applied Mathematics Quarterly, vol. 19 no. 6
(January, 2024),
pp. 28272840, International Press [abs]
 Bryant, R; Cheeger, J; LimaFilho, P; Rosenberg, J; White, B, The mathematical work of H. Blaine Lawson, Jr.,
Pure and Applied Mathematics Quarterly, vol. 19 no. 6
(January, 2024),
pp. 26272662, International Press
 Bryant, R; Cheeger, J; Griffiths, P; Blum, L; Burns, D; Connes, A; Donnelly, H; Ebin, D; Guillemin, V; Palais, R; Rossi, H; Simons, J; Singer, E; Singer, N; Stanton, N; Sternberg, S, Isadore M. Singer (1924–2021) In Memoriam Part 2: Personal Recollections,
Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 69 no. 10
(November, 2022),
pp. 11, American Mathematical Society (AMS) [doi]
 Bryant, R; Bismut, JM; Cheeger, J; Griffiths, P; Donaldson, S; Hitchin, N; Lawson, HB; Gromov, M; Marcus, A; Spielman, D; Srivastava, N; Witten, E, Isadore M. Singer (1924–2021) In Memoriam Part 1: Scientific Works,
Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 69 no. 09
(October, 2022),
pp. 11, American Mathematical Society (AMS) [doi]
 Selected Invited Lectures
 Parking Cars, Rolling Balls, and Falling Cats: The Concept of Holonomy, May 22, 2013, Simons Foundation in New York City
 Geometry Old and New: From Euclid to String Theory, November 1, 2012, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA [title.]
 Applications of Cartan's generalization of Lie's Third Theorem, June 13, 2011, Centre de Rescherches Mathématiques, Montreal, CA [various]
 The idea of Holonomy, October 14, 2010, MAA Carriage House, Washington, DC [theideaofholonomy]
 On the life and work of S.S. Chern, August 19, 2010, ICM in Hyderabad, India [Ch]
 Recent Grant Support
 Special Holonomy In Geometry, Analysis and Physics, Simons Foundation, 2020/072024/06.
 Conferences Organized
 Annual East Coast Geometry Festival, Member of Organizing Board, 1 January 1990
 Transforming PostSecondary Education in Mathematics (Duke Regional Meeting), Organizer, December 05, 2015  December 06, 2015
 Member, Organizing Committee : Bay Area Differential Geometry Seminar. 2008  2013, Member, Organizing Committee : Bay Area Differential Geometry Seminar, 2008  2013
 CoOrganizer : Chern Centennial Conference. October 24, 2011  November 04, 2011, CoOrganizer : Chern Centennial Conference, October 24, 2011  November 04, 2011
 AIM Workshop on Calibrations, Conference Organizer, June 26, 2006  June 30, 2006
 Singularities in Analysis, Geometry, and Topology: A Conference Honoring the Retirements of F. Reese Harvey and John Polking, Scientific Advisor on Organizing Committee, November 11, 2005  November 13, 2005
 International Symposium on Finsler Geometry, Member of organizing committee, August 10, 2004  August 14, 2004
 Oberwolfach BiAnnual Differential Geometry in the Large, coOrganizer, June 15, 2001  May 31, 2004
 MSRI YearLong Program in Geometry (20032004), coOrganizer, 200104
