By Taruna Rapaka
Carlos Andrés Muñoz Moncayo is a mathematics graduate from Yachay Tech University, Ecuador, who joined KAUST in February 2021. Carlos believes that KAUST’s renowned faculty, unique facilities and diverse community make the University the best environment for him to develop high-quality and impactful research.
Muñoz Moncayo joined KAUST as a M.S./Ph.D. candidate and a member of The Numerical Mathematics Group under the supervision of Professor David Ketcheson.
What was your main subject during your undergraduate degree? Why did you choose it?
I have worked in different mathematics fields, but the most challenging and rewarding one was quantum mechanics. For my bachelor’s thesis, we proved the existence of many solutions for a nonlinear Schrödinger equation with critical frequency.
I chose quantum mechanics because it involved working with operator theory, partial differential equations, functional and nonlinear analysis. These were the subjects I enjoyed the most during my studies.
When did you first become interested in applied mathematics and computational sciences? What are your research interests?
When I began my undergraduate studies, I just wanted to work in pure mathematics. However, during this process, I became primarily interested in applied mathematics, which was influenced by Yachay’s interdisciplinary aim. Furthermore, I realized that the separation between these approaches could become blurred, especially when studying specific problems from computer science and physics.
My research interests include partial differential equations, numerical analysis and scientific computing. However, I am open to exploring different areas of mathematics, computer science and their applications.
What do you do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?
I like all kinds of visual arts; I like to draw, and I appreciate other people’s art. I also love chess; even though I do not play competitively, I try to learn from more skilled players. I consider that to do something original, creative and meaningful, it is essential to be aware of what others are doing and view things from their perspective.
What is your future outlook?
After graduating, I would like to establish myself as an independent researcher on my way to a career within academia.
Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue a M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?
Start applying with enough time so that you can obtain something that you are comfortable with. It is a competitive process, so you will want to submit the strongest application that you can.
Also, there is a lot of information on the KAUST website, and all over the internet, about its research groups and faculty’s activities, be sure to take a look.