Jessica Purcell


Jessica A. Shepherd Purcell is an American mathematician specializing in low-dimensional topology whose research topics have included hyperbolic Dehn surgery and the Jones polynomial. She is a professor of mathematics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.[1]


Purcell credits a high school mathematics teacher, Mr. Pehrson, for her interest in mathematics.[2] She majored in mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, with a minor in computer science. She was a co-winner of the 1998 Alice T. Schafer Prize for Excellence in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Woman of the Association for Women in Mathematics,[3][4] and graduated summa cum laude in 1998.[1]

After earning a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1999,[1] Purcell completed her Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2004. Her dissertation, Cusp Shapes of Hyperbolic Link Complements and Dehn Filling, was supervised by Steven Kerckhoff.[1][5]


After postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin and University of Oxford, Purcell became an assistant professor at Brigham Young University in 2007.[1] She was named a Sloan Research Fellow in 2011,[1][6] and earned tenure at Brigham Young in 2013. After visits to Monash University and at the Institute for Advanced Study as a Von Neumann Fellow, she moved to Monash as an associate professor in 2015, became an ARC Future Fellow in 2017, and was named full professor in 2019.[1]

She chaired the Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Australian Mathematical Society for 2018–2019 and 2019–2020.[7]


Purcell is the author of the book Hyperbolic Knot Theory (Graduate Studies in Mathematics 209, American Mathematical Society, 2020).[8] With David Futer and Efstratia Kalfagianni she is a coauthor of Guts of Surfaces and the Colored Jones Polynomial (Lecture Notes in Mathematics 2069, Springer, 2012).[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Curriculum vitae (PDF), Monash University, retrieved 2021-03-14
  2. ^ Purcell, Jessica, Biography: Some frequently asked questions, Brigham Young University, retrieved 2021-03-14
  3. ^ Alice T. Schafer Prize for Excellence in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Woman 1998, Association for Women in Mathematics, retrieved 2021-03-14
  4. ^ Gallian, Joseph A. (June–July 2019), "The First Twenty-Five Winners of the AWM Alice T. Schafer Prize" (PDF), Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 66 (6): 870–874, doi:10.1090/noti1892
  5. ^ Jessica Purcell at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  6. ^ "Math Professor Jessica Purcell Wins Prestigious Fellowship", BYU News, Brigham Young University, 23 February 2011
  7. ^ Past WIMSIG executive committees, Australian Mathematical Society, retrieved 2021-03-14
  8. ^ Review of Hyperbolic Knot Theory: Henry Segerman, MAA Reviews
  9. ^ Reviews of Guts of Surfaces and the Colored Jones Polynomial: Heather A. Dye, MR3024600; Daniel Moskovich, Zbl 1270.57002

External linksEdit

  • Home page
  • Jessica Purcell publications indexed by Google Scholar
  • Meet Professor Jessica Purcell, Monash University