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Peter Baddoo, Department of Mathematics instructor, dies at 29

Baddoo was a respected and admired scholar, teacher, mentor, and colleague.
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A man in a blue dress shirt with arms folded stands in front of a distant urban skyline.
In addition to his work as instructor, scholar, and advisor, Peter Baddoo brought the Department of Mathematics community together by organizing social events for postdocs and instructors.
Photo: Shoott

Peter Baddoo, an instructor in the Department of Mathematics, passed away suddenly on Feb. 15 while playing basketball on campus.

Baddoo joined the MIT Department of Mathematics in January 2021. Prior to this, he was an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow at Imperial College London. He studied mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford and received his PhD from Cambridge University.

An accomplished applied mathematician, Baddoo had broad research interests and activities spanning complex function theory, fluid dynamics, and machine learning and data-driven methods. His book, “Analytic Solutions for Flows Through Cascades” (Springer, 2020) received praise for its “exceptionally clear presentation with beautiful figures.”

“Peter was an outstanding, self-propelling researcher, a master of complex function theory with a burgeoning interest in machine learning, and had several collaborations within the U.S. and farther afield. He had an exceptionally promising future in academia. He was a deeply respected and valued member of my research group and the broader applied math community. He will be sorely missed,” says Professor John Bush, his faculty mentor.

In addition to his research, Baddoo was an exemplary teacher who gave generously of his time in assisting colleagues, graduate students, and undergraduates. 

“Peter was an excellent lecturer — clear, composed, thoughtful, and kind. He was extremely popular among his students,” says Michel Goemans, the RSA Professor of Mathematics and Department of Mathematics head. One of Baddoo’s students in class 18.04 (Complex Variables with Applications) says that “I took Peter's class, and I walked out of that class actually liking math. I was assured that I want to study more of math and pursue a minor.”

Aside from his work as a scholar and teacher, Baddoo brought the department together by organizing social events for postdocs and instructors; for these and other efforts he received a Math Community Service Award. His interests extended well beyond mathematics and included music and sports such as basketball and lacrosse — which he played at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and as a member of the Senior England Men’s training squad. He was also a devoted and active member of Park Street Church.

In his honor, the Department of Mathematics will be endowing a Peter Baddoo Prize to recognize outstanding contributions to community-building within the department.

Peter Baddoo is survived by his parents, Jim and Nancy; his sisters, Kate and Harriet; and his fiancée, Yuna Kim.  

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