David E Speyer

Contact Information:

E-mail: speyer@umich.edu

Office: 2844 East Hall

David E Speyer
Department of Mathematics
2844 East Hall
530 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI
48109-1043 USA
My Name:
My last name is pronounced "spire", like the top of a church. But I'll answer to "Sp-vowel-r!" or to "David!". For the curious, it is derived from the city of Speyer, Germany.

About Me:

I am a profesor in the department of mathematics at the University of Michigan. I am married, and have three kids.


I enjoy algebraic problems with a combinatorial flavor. If you started out with a well motivated algebraic question but wound up with lots of little complicated pictures, I probably want to hear about it. Some topics I can usually be relied upon to think about: tropical geometry, cluster algebras, flag manifolds and other geometry of Lie Groups, interesting degenerations of algebraic structures, exact results and asymptopics of perfect matchings (eg Arctic Circle phenomena). I also know a reasonable amount of Number Theory and enjoy talking about it, although as yet this is not a research interest.


In Winter 2024, I taught Math 632, the second semester of Algebraic Geometry. In Fall 2024, I plan to teach Math 593 (graduate algebra) and to coordinate Math 214; in Winter 2025, I plan to teach an undergraduate IBL course on Galois theory.

You can see my past teaching here.


My graduated students are Shelby Cox (tropical geometry related to the space of phylogenetic trees) and Will Dana (shards and related structures in Coxeter groups), Nic Ford (Knutson's shifting construction for positroids), Gracie Ingermanson (cluster algebras, Bruhat cells), Giwan Kim (standard monomial theory and toric degenerations), Jake Levinson (higher dimensional analogues of the Mukhin-Tarasov-Varchenko theorem and K-theory of Grassmannians), Rohini Ramadas (Hurwitz spaces and connections to dynamics), Harry Richman (Tropical geometry and Weierstrass points), and John Wiltshire-Gordon (representation stability, configuration spaces and representations of categories). I have no current students, but plan to take 2-4 new students in the next 1-2 years. .

I have supervised undergraduate research projects by Grant Barkley, Benjamin Branman, Andrew Gitlin, Patrick Lenning, David Rush, Shubhankar Sahai, Jonathan Schneider and Julio Cesar Soldevilla.


Before coming to the University of Michigan as a professor, I was a Clay Research Fellow. In that capacity, I spent two years (2005-2007) at the University of Michigan and three (2007-2010) at MIT.

I have a Ph. D. in mathematics from UC Berkeley, where I was a student of Bernd Sturmfels. My thesis is on tropical geometry, an approach to turning algebraic geometry problems into polyhedral geometry. Before coming to Berkeley, I was an undergraduate at Harvard. While there, I worked for Jim Propp's research group REACH and wrote an undergraduate thesis on the Eichler-Shimura correspondence under William Stein. I spent the rest of my time doing theater tech, hanging out with science fiction fans and working on Les Phys — the physics musical!

I spent four years as a counselor at PROMYS, a number theory program for high school students, and highly endorse it either as a place to study or to work. I spent my own high school summers at MOP, which I found great but works better for some people than for others. I went to High School at Choate Rosemary Hall and to Middle School at Talcott Mountain Academy. If you are a young nerd in Connecticut, looking for a middle school or after school program, I highly recommend Talcott.

Recent Papers

Click HERE for a complete bibliography