Faculty Directory

Elissa Ross

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Salisbury Laboratories, 405A

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Elissa Ross

I am a postdoctoral scholar at WPI, working on problems related to infinite periodic graphs. I am interested in investigating when such a graph is rigid – if I constructed the graph out of stiff bars and flexible joints would the resulting “framework” be rigid? I look at these infinite graphs as graphs embedded on a topological torus, and try to analyze their properties in that “finite-ized” setting. These graphs are relevant to the study of zeolites, a type of microporous crystalline material with a periodic structure which are used in applications ranging from carbon capture to kitty litter.

As a teacher I seek to foster in students the same type of critical thinking skills I use everyday as a mathematician, emphasizing the methods of problem solving and effective communication.  I especially enjoy the opportunity teaching presents to revisit prior knowledge with fresh perspective.

Research Interests

  • Discrete Geometry
  • Rigidity theory
  • Symmetry
  • Tilings
  • Interdisciplinarity


  • BSc. University of Guelph
  • MSc University of British Columbia
  • Phd York University (Canada)

Featured Publications

  • The rigidity of periodic frameworks as graphs on a fixed torus, (to appear in Contributions to Discrete Mathematics). 
  • One brick at a time: a survey of inductive constructions in rigidity theory, with A. Nixon. To appear in the Fields Communications Series, “Rigidity and Symmetry” edited by Robert Connelly, Walter Whiteley and Asia Weiss.
  • The Rigidity of Spherical Frameworks: Swapping Blocks and Holes, with W. Finbow, and W. Whiteley, SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics, 26(1), 280 – 304 (Feb., 2012).
  • The rigidity of periodic body-bar frameworks on the three-dimensional fixed torus, Philo-sophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 372 (2008) (Feb., 2014).
  • Finite motions from periodic frameworks with added symmetry, with B. Schulze and W. Whiteley, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 48, 1711 – 1728 (Feb., 2011).
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