Jessica Sidman

  • Professor of Mathematics on the John Stewart Kennedy Foundation
Jessica Sidman

Mathematics professor Jessica Sidman loves to see how much students' knowledge, ability, and confidence can grow over the course of a semester. She says, "I feel like I am a success as a teacher when students start to depend less on me and realize that they can answer each other's questions."

Interactions between algebra and geometry figure prominently in Sidman's research. "The following question is a common theme running throughout my work: How is the geometry of the set of common zeroes of a system of polynomial equations related to the algebraic "complexity" of the system? I am particularly interested in this question when the solution set is a collection, or arrangement, of linear subspaces. Arrangements of linear subspaces arise in several areas of mathematics, including invariant theory and topology, as well as in applications such as computer vision, and there is much yet to explore!"

Sidman especially appreciates the research opportunities available through the Five College Consortium. "The valley is home to a lively and active research group interested in exploring questions linking commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. Weekly seminars really help keep me abreast of current developments in the field."

The author of several publications, Sidman has also been invited to speak at national and international conferences and seminars. She was named an AMS Project NEXT Fellow in 2003 and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2002–2003.

Areas of Expertise

Algebraic geometry; computational algebraic geometry and commutative algebra; combinatorics


  • Ph.D., M.S., University of Michigan
  • B.A., Scripps College


Recent Campus News

Nearly 150 students participated in the Stoling Ceremony, an important Commencement weekend tradition celebrating the achievements of students of color and their Mount Holyoke mentors.

During Baccalaureate, Mount Holyoke seniors gather together in Abbey Memorial Chapel on the Saturday evening before Commencement. They hear remarks from selected faculty members, classmates and College leadership.

Three Mount Holyoke professors spoke at Final Lecture, giving talks that ranged from aspirational to deeply personal.

Recent Grants

Margaret Robinson PI with Co-PIs Giuliana Davidoff, Dylan Shepardson and Jessica Sidman (Mathematics) received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Collaborative Proposal: Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference 2020-2022” – with Keene and Siena Colleges. The project is for three years.

Recent Publications

Sidman, J. and Wheeler, A. (February 2021). "Geometric Equations for Matroid Varieties." Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A, 178. 

James Farre*, Helena Kleinschmidt*, Jessica Sidman, Audrey St. John, Stephanie Stark*, Louis Theran, Xilin Yu*. Algorithms for detecting dependencies and rigid subsystems for CAD. Computer Aided Geometric Design, 47: 130-149, 2016.
* indicates undergraduate author

Audrey Lee-St. John and Jessica Sidman. Combinatorics and the Rigidity of CAD Systems. Computer-Aided Design 45(2):473-482, 2013. (Best Paper Award, Symposium on Solid & Physical Modeling, Dijon, France, October 2012.)

Recent Awards

With co-authors Zvi Rosen and Louis Theran, has received the Mathematical Association of America's 2021 Merten Hasse Award for expository writing for their paper “Algebraic Matroids in Action.’’

Recent Honors

Was chosen to be the Winter 2022 Distinguished Speaker by the Association for Women in Mathematics Chapter at the University of Oregon.

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