Robert Bryant is the Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. Born and educated in North Carolina, he has held positions in mathematics departments at Rice University, Duke University, and, currently, at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
Bryant’s research is in the area of differential geometry and its applications, particularly to the study of partial differential equations, control theory, and the calculus of variations. While continuing to develop techniques pioneered by Elie Cartan and Shiing-shen Chern in the early and middle 20th century for studying these problems, his work has produced results in the theory of holonomy of Riemannian manifolds (particularly, showing the existence of the so-called ‘exceptional’ holonomies that turn up in string theory), minimal surfaces, integrable systems, and several related areas.