I have broad interests in applied mathematics. Most of my work is on the dynamics of disordered systems, especially:
Phase transitions and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics.
Integrable systems and random matrix theory.
Probabilistic analysis of numerical algorithms.
Models of turbulence.
These areas are linked through a common viewpoint. The kinetics of phase transitions and models of turbulence are important examples of dynamical systems in high dimensions. Surprisingly, several numerical algorithms may also be viewed as dynamical systems acting in high dimensional spaces and behave like glassy systems. This approach suggests new questions and (at the technical level) new equations and estimates that I hope will be valuable to practitioners in different fields.
My ideals are those of a mathematical physicist. I am constantly amazed by the mathematical beauty of fundamental physical models. Dirac's dictum that all physical principles must have mathematical beauty, seamlessly coexists with Cantor's view that the essence of mathematics resides in its freedom. We have no understanding of why this is the case, but it is a gift of knowledge that belongs to us all.
I am also fascinated with the idea that biology can inspire nanotechnology. While self-assembly today is principally driven by experimental advances, it is a promising field for mathematical contributions.
I teach classes undergraduate and graduate classes in many areas of applied mathematics. In the past few years, I have developed several new classes.
I also serve on the editorial board of
SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis
As everyone who is involved in the publishing of mathematics knows, the cost of journals has skyrocketed, while most of the actual work involved in publishing (i.e. writing, editing and even typesetting papers) has been pushed onto authors. The primary purpose of academic publication is the communication of knowledge, not the protection of prestige. For the most part, I will only review or submit papers to low-cost journals, especially those maintained by professional societies such as the American Mathematical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, or the American Physical Society. After a few years on the boards of Elsevier journals, I am now a signatory of the Elsevier boycott.
I am also a contributing writer for The Mathematical Intelligencer .
I am always happy to talk with undergraduate students at Brown. The best day to meet with me is on Friday.
I regret that I do not have the time to meet with prospective students to discuss our program.
If you're looking for an undergraduate research project with me, here are my parameters. I have advised several honors theses and I'd be happy to discuss this with you. My typical expectation is that you work with me for at least two semesters, commiting time equivalent to at least one class per semester.
I have no other research opportunities for undergraduates. In particular, I do not work with undergraduate students during the summer break, nor do I work with any students who are not enrolled at Brown University.
If you are a prospective student, and you'd like to work with me, please note that students at Brown are admitted to the graduate program, and are free to choose their advisor, so my "queue" should play no role in your decision to apply to Brown. Student plans often change (as they should) after some time in graduate school.