Fabrizio Zanello

Fabrizio Zanello
"A's hire A's; B's hire C's."


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  • Professor, Mathematical Sciences
  • PhD, Mathematics (Combinatorial Commutative Algebra), Queen's University (Canada)
  • MS, Mathematics (Analytic Number Theory), University of Genova (Italy)


I came to the US in 2006, as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Before then, I was a Ph.D. student at Queen's University, Canada, a postdoc at the University of Genova, Italy, and the Gustafsson postdoc at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. I joined the Michigan Tech faculty in 2007, where I received early tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2011, and promotion to full Professor in 2016. I spent both calendar years 2011 and 2013 at MIT as a Visiting Associate Professor, and then Fall 2017 as a Visiting Professor, invited by Richard Stanley.  This is an interview that Richard Stanley and I gave to the Michigan Tech University Marketing and Communications Department in Fall 2016.

My research interests are in the broader areas of Combinatorics, Commutative Algebra, and Partition Theory. Nearly all of my preprints are available on the arXiv

At Michigan Tech, I usually teach the graduate courses in Algebra and Combinatorial Commutative Algebra, the undergraduate courses in Algebra, or Calculus I. At MIT I taught three times 18.304, the seminar course in Combinatorics for the senior math majors (in Spring and Fall 2011, and Spring 2013). For my lucky list of research students at MIT and Michigan Tech, please see my CV.

I have been giving a large number of interviews to Italian newspapers during the last many years, both about myself and my professional activities in the United States, and nearly as entertaining, the education of gifted children and young adults. Some interviews are also available online, including the following published by Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica (the two main Italian newspapers), and Alice & Bob (a journal of Bocconi University, a leading European Business School). This is a scan of an interview that I released to Focus, for their December 2012 issue of Focus Extra discussing "genius". Since 2011, I am a member of the Scientific Committee of AISTAP (the Italian Association for the Development of Talent and High Ability).

Speaking of gifted people, this is the Putnam result of my exceptional former research student Jizhou, obtained in 2009 at Michigan Tech, and this is the medal that my equally exceptional MIT research student Colin received as a 2010 Putnam Fellow.

I started my private watch collection in 2005, and after a number of Rolexes, Panerais, etc., I am now almost exclusively into Patek Philippe. Here are the top three pieces of my collection (so far): Reference 5177G-010, Photo #1, Photo #2, and Photo #3 (a 2018 limited edition in grey gold with enamel dial, representing the wonderful neighborhood of Boccadasse, in my hometown of Genova); reference 5131P, Photo #1, Photo #2, and Photo #3 (the new Worldtimer in platinum with enamel dial, an application piece introduced in 2017); and reference 5089G-020, Photo #1, Photo #2, and Photo #3 (a 2014 limited edition with wood marquetry dial, from Patek's 175th Anniversary collection). This is a curious (and beautifully written) interview that I gave to the Michigan Tech University Marketing and Communications Department in Fall 2015.

Links of Interest

Areas of Expertise

  • Algebraic and Enumerative Combinatorics
  • Combinatorial Commutative Algebra
  • Partition Theory