L. Mahadevan, Ph.D.
Founding Core Faculty Member
Mahadevan is interested in the spatial and temporal organization of matter -- i.e., how it is shaped and how it flows. His group uses a combination of techniques to explore this issue, ranging from simple observations of phenomena to quantitative experiments and theory. Working in several enabling technology platforms at the Wyss Institute, he has also been pursuing the inverse problem of how the shape and flow of matter may be controlled in space and time. He is contributing his expertise in applied mathematics, physics, engineering, and biology to several projects involving bio-inspired collective robotics, forward and inverse problems involving origami, self-assembly, blood flow dynamics, morphogenesis, smart materials, etc . For example, in the area of Adaptive Material Technologies, he is using computational tools to understand the exotic geometry of pleated and creased structures found in nature, such as insect wings and plant leaves.
At Harvard, Maha is the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Professor of Physics. He is also a Schlumberger Visiting Professor at the Mathematics Institute at the University of Oxford, UK, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. Before arriving at Harvard in 2003, Maha was the first Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Trinity College. Among his many awards are a 2009 MacArthur "genius" grant, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, MIT's Edgerton award, Harvard's George Ledlie Prize, and named lectures and Professorships at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Ecole Normale Superieure, Chicago, University of California-Berkeley etc.
October 6, 2008
Simple curiosities compel scientist
By Billy Baker
L. Mahadevan smiled at the question: "What, exactly, do you do?"
Physical Limits and Design Principles for Plant and Fungal Movements