Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sara VanderHaagen, HFAB Communications Chair: How would you describe your vocation, and how are you pursuing that in your current position?
Vinicius Gripp B. Ramos: My vocation is to be a professor whose research impacts my field and whose teaching transforms lives. I strive to share God’s love and to be a light in an environment so full of fear, competition and pride. In my current position, I try to be a compassionate teacher as well as a humble scientist who is not ashamed to say what I do not understand. I also hope that this encourages students who often feel dwarfed by the academic world.
SV: How has being a Harvey Fellow affected your vocation and life?
VGR: Getting the Harvey Fellowship was a great source of encouragement at a time when I was starting to get unmotivated to do my research and pursue my vocation. Being a Harvey Fellow and especially meeting many other ones has been an inspiration to me, knowing that I’m not alone in trying to be a missionary in academia.
SV: What about your work most excites or inspires you right now?
VGR: I’m very excited to understand the relations between billiards and symplectic geometry. One of my current projects is to figure out how the dynamics of billiards in tables of various shapes can help us to understand symplectic structures, which are the mathematical structures on the phase space coming from Hamiltonian mechanics. In particular, I’d like to understand how to relate what physicists, dynamicists and geometers have discovered about billiards. Moreover, I’m excited to see my students’ lives transformed by understanding God through the study of mathematics.
SV: What about God’s work most excites or inspires you right now?
VGR: I’m very inspired to see Christians in the developing world who are making a big difference in their communities. In particular, I’m very excited to see a small renewal in the Brazilian church, where more and more Christians are trying to move beyond the traditional church structures that are isolated from society and start to engage more in social and environmental questions in a time where many other Christians are becoming more legalistic and distancing themselves from God’s creation and mandates to humankind.