Megan was born May 15th 1967 in Buffalo NY. She is the second of four children. Her family moved around a lot when she was growing up, because her father was in the Army. So she actually attended Junior High and High School in Virginia. Neither of her partents have any math background, but her mother does have a Ph.D. in American Studies. Both of her parents were very supportive of her decision to pursue a career in mathematics, especially her mother. She married in 1991.
Dr. Kerr received her undergraduate degree in 1989 from Wellesley College, Magna cum laude. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. She is currently an assistant professor on tenure track at Wellesley College. She taught one semester as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Arizona. From 1995 to 1997 she was a John Wesley Young Research Instructor at Dartmouth College. She has been invited and spoken at over a dozen talks/seminars. She has spoken three times at the AWM.
Dr. Kerr did not enter college pursuing a mathematics career. She had several influences that eventually helped her decide on math in her junior year. She had a professor for several math classes who encouraged Dr. Kerr to major in Mathematics. On of the deciding factors to pursue a math major was the summer between her junior year and senior year. During that summer she did some extensive research that sparked the interest to major in Mathematics.
She is currently teaching Calculus II and Cominatorics and Graph Theory. She has had four publications to date. (LINK)
She hasfocused her research career in Mathematics on Geometry, especially Riemannian Geometry. She looks at curves and various characteristics of theses curves in different geometries. There are three types of spaces of constant curvature. Euclidian, Spherical and Hyperbolic.
Euclidian was the first geometry developed a little over one hundred years ago. Its foundation is five Postulates. 1) There exist a straight line from any point to any other point. 2) A line segment can be extended continuously. 3) A circle can be described with any center and any radius. 4) All right angles are conguent. 5) Given a line and a point not on a line there exist another line through the point that is parallel to the first line. One through four were never really questioned, but many people questioned whether or not five could be "given" without the use of the other four.
So Riemann set out to see if the first four were needed to conclude the fifth and he instead became the father of spherical geometry. The next person to research Euclids fifth postulate extensively proved that five was consistent with the first four. He is Bolyai Lobachevsky and he is credited with hyperbolic geometry.
In Euclidian geometry the shortest distance between two points is a line and the sum of the angles in a triangle is equal to 180. Two lines intersect only once and the Pythagorean Theorem holds as follows: a^2 + b^2 = c^2.
In Spherical geometry every pair of lines intersect twice, sum of angles in a triangle is greater than 180 and the Pythagorean Theorem holds as follow: a^2 + b^2 > c^2. The shortest distance is no longer a straight line, but a curve called a geodesic or great circle.
In Hyperbolic geometry all lines intersect at most once, the angles in a triangle sum to less than 180 and the Pythagorean Theorem holds as follows: a^2 +b^2 < c^2.
An example of Euclidian Space would be any flat surface. An example of spherical space is the earth's surface. The only example of hyperbolic space known to date are man made models, but the research continues for more examples and more explanations.
Dr. Kerr has taken this information about curvature and expanded it to higher diminsions. There are three types of curvature-Sectional, Ricci, and Scalar.
Sectional measures how much circumference is deformed. Ricci is the average of Sectional curvatures. Scalar is the average of Ricci curvatures.
There too few sectional curves to study and too many Scalar curves, so Dr. Kerr has focused her research specifically on Ricci or Einstein curves.