Picture of Xuan Hien Nguyen

Xuan Hien Nguyen

  • Associate Professor
  • Dio Lewis Holl Chair for Applied Mathematics
  • Coordinator for Actuarial Science
  • Director of the Math Circles of Ames program
My mathematical interests lie in geometrical analysis; more specifically, I study the mean curvature flow and gluing problems involving elliptic and parabolic pdes (I use pdes to construct surfaces with interesting geometric properties). Recently, I also have become interested in free boundary problems and fundamental gap problems.

I believe that learning math is fun. For this reason, I started the Math Circles of Ames so to help K-12 students develop their reasoning and problem solving skills on more open-ended problems. For more information, please go to the "Projects" tab.


Contact Info

478 Carver
411 Morrill Rd.


  • Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2006
  • M.A., Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2002
  • B. Sc., Mathematics, Free University of Brussels, 2000

My name is Vietnamese and I usually go by 'Hien'. It is pronounced 'Hain' or 'Hein' (think of saying it with a southern accent and you'll be pretty close!). Traditionally, Vietnamese people say their last name first, middle name then first name: Nguyen Xuan Hien. Filling in all the paperwork here, I had to switch the order around, but could not make myself write my name completely backwards.

What about the 'Xuan' part? There are so many people with the last name 'Nguyen', so I use it to differentiate myself from all of the other 'Hien Nguyen' out there (Hien is a pretty common first name too).