Professor Luke Postle has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Graph Theory.
Luke joined the C&O department in 2014 after completing his Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Emory University. Luke received several awards at Georgia Tech, including the 2014 ACO Outstanding Student Prize, the 2013 Best Ph.D. Thesis Award from the Department of Mathematics, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Luke's research interests are in structural and topological graph theory, graph colouring, and matroid theory. In his Ph.D. thesis, written under the supervision of Professor Robin Thomas, Luke proved that a 6-list-critical graph embeddable in a surface of genus g has at most O(g) vertices, thereby settling a 1994 conjecture made by Carsten Thomassen. To prove this result, Luke formulated a structure theory of "hyperbolic" graphs embedded in surfaces. This theory unified, extended, and substantially improved several results by Thomassen and others on 5-list colourings of graphs on surfaces.
The Government of Canada established the Canada Research Chairs program in 2000 to build Canada’s research and development capacity. The program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds researching in the areas of engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. Tier 2 Chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years.