teaching professor
department of mathematics
university of california, santa cruz


pedro fernando

i am originally from guatemala, a country in central america (not south america :O), where i obtained a degree in applied mathematics and a degree in electronics engineering from universidad de san carlos de guatemala.

i then moved to texas and i got my phd from baylor university. my specialization is mathematical physics, specifically zeta functions. after graduating, i stayed in texas for another five years working as a lecturer at the university of texas at austin. i moved to california and i currently work in the math department at the university of california, santa cruz.

i am deeply interested in many areas of mathematics, but specifically in spectral zeta functions and their applications into number theory, quantum field theories, and related areas. i am also interested in mathematics education, active learning, experiential learning, quantitative resoning, math improv, and outreach.

my interest in math started while in highschool i became part of the guatemalan math team. i discovered that math was more than calculations and numbers. it was rather a way to describe and create. i like to solve problems, to find patterns, and to describe the real world using math.

i also like technology, programming, music, innovation, and creativity.

curriculum vitae

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my work has been directed towards the application of spectral zeta functions in calculations of the casimir effect. mainly i have studied spectral zeta functions arising from laplace type differential operators defined on different types of riemannian manifolds, their relation with heat kernel coefficients and zero point energy.

research statement


  1. Casimir energy for perturbed surfaces of revolution (2016) DOI: 10.1142/S0217751X16500445
  2. Casimir effect for smooth potentials on spherically symmetric pistons (w/ K. Kirsten) (2015) DOI: 10.1088/1751-8113/48/49/495201
  3. Grothendieck ring class of Banana and Flower graphs (2014) DOI: 10.1142/9789814460057_0011
  4. Casimir Effect in the Presence of External Fields (w/ Beauregard, M., Fucci, G., Kirsten, K.,) (2013) DOI: 10.1088/1751-8113/46/11/115401
  5. Pistons modeled by potentials (w/ Fucci, G., Kirsten, K.,) (2011) DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-19760-4_29
  6. Semitransparent Pistons (w/ Kirsten, K.) (2010) DOI: 10.1142/S0217751X10049463


mathematics has always been classified as a tough and unattractive study topic. many young students begin college with the idea that mathematics is a hard subject and that it mainly deals with numbers and equations. one of my teaching goals is to show my students that mathematics is not simply restricted to the study of numbers and equations. rather, mathematics is a language through which one can precisely describe real life phenomena.

additionally, mathematics constitutes a broad area of study in and of itself. i believe that an indispensable concept in the study of mathematics is to be able to have different points of view, as making connections between these different views is of great importance for problem solving and critical thinking

teaching statement


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