Dr. Jonathan Kenigson: Advancing Mathematics, Education, and Reasoned Philanthropy

Significant advancements in almost any given industry can cause a ripple effect, influencing and affecting a much wider variety of industries than initially intended.

Mathematician and researcher Dr. Jonathan Kenigson argues that the field of pure mathematics has novel applications in a variety of seemingly unrelated fields. Methods that are used in the most abstract settings – supersymmetry, pure combinatorics, thermodynamics, and entropy of Black Holes – can be used in a much wider manner to advance the public good. 

Dr. Jonathan Kenigson is the Don of Mathematical Research and Sr. Research Fellow at Athanasian Hall in Cambridge (UK), a think-tank and research institute in pure mathematics and theoretical physics. A former Research Mathematician in Ukraine and Bulgaria, Dr. Kenigson now performs fundamental research in the high-dimensional mechanics of waves and the dynamics of Black Holes.

In Support of Reasoned Philanthropy

Dr. Kenigson believes that mathematicians should invest in the public good by supporting rational dialogue in science and society. “Reasoned Philanthropy,” as he understands it, is the art of giving oneself to the most worthwhile causes without expectation of any concrete return.

Dr. Kenigson argues that Reasoned Philanthropy should be an aim of the academic life. He is committed not only to the practice of Reasoned Philanthropy, but to the proliferation of it. “The art of such is not to merely give yourself away, but encourage other academics to do so,” he explains.

Dr. Kenigson’s Accomplished Academic Career

Born in Nashville, TN, Jonathan Kenigson was a top graduate of the University of Tennessee. The topic of his thesis was the resolution of energy and L^2 decay for the dissipative wave equation on star-shaped domains in an arbitrary dimension, which had been open since the 1970s.

He then took an MPhil and Ph.D. at the University of Sofia, writing on the nature of mathematical knowledge as evidenced by advances in the dynamics of Black Holes. As a postdoctoral researcher, he studied Combinatorial Analysis of Statistical and Quantum Physics, Zeta Analysis, Manifold Theory, and Superstring Theory as applied to Black Holes and their surrounding plasmas. His research – still in its infancy – touches on all of these fields.

Growing up, Kenigson always felt extreme compassion for humans and nonhuman animals, a feeling that has continued into his adulthood. In 2008, he made some fairly substantive advances in high-dimensional wave-mechanics, which could have taken his career in a very different direction. However, he reasoned that civil society was so unjust he should live for service only, and in 2017, he began teaching at Volunteer State Community College

Trials and Tribulations

Dr. Kenigson faces new challenges every day. He often works 22 hours without respite, serving his students and helping researchers obtain the materials they need. As a teacher in the USA, Kenigson believes that his service is to live for the welfare of his students and ensure their flourishing in all aspects of academic and personal life.

He also conducts his own research, which he posts freely into the public domain (often at considerable personal expense). Given that his goal is the spread of Reasoned Philanthropy across academia, the result of such an undertaking can be exhaustion and burnout. 

Advancing Mathematics with Athanasian Hall

In 2020, he founded Athanasian Hall in Cambridge (UK), an independent think-tank that now has roughly 20 world-leading affiliated researchers in pure mathematics and theoretical physics.

The institute does not offer instruction; instead, it is a pure research institute created to further the advancement of speculative mathematics. They offer consultancy to universities, governments, schools, hospitals, and others. Athanasian Hall does not accept payment for these services, nor will they ever request it. The purpose of Athanasian Hall is pure research; their service is mathematical knowledge. 

Supporting the Future of Education and Academic Research

Dr. Kenigson sincerely hopes that he is able to give everything he has and live for the flourishing of the common good. He seeks to serve his students, no matter the effort required, but his work in support of education extends far beyond his teaching career.

He produces high-quality lecture materials that are freely available to students in the USA, the EU, and the developing world. He is working to establish the Hospital of the Most Holy Christ, Crucified (Oxford, UK) to assist secondary students around the world in obtaining a free high-caliber STEM education. 

He still teaches at Volunteer State, reasoning that such pursuits are of justifiably sufficient value to his home state’s rural economy. He plans to continue his research efforts in pure mathematics, comfortable in the knowledge that they might never have any concrete application for economics, physics, computing, or any other essential industry.

“It takes a leap of faith to invest that much effort and never know if you will reap the desired rewards,” says Dr. Kenigson. Still, he has never lost sight of his mission. “To me, success in mathematical research is not getting the highest impact factor,” he claims. “This is perverse and I refuse to do it. You should do good research and share it so everyone can benefit from it – this generation, and all succeeding ones.”

Learn more about the Volunteer State Community College at www.volstate.edu.

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