Scientific Advisory Board



Charles Epstein

Charles L. Epstein received his Ph.D. from NYU in 1983. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, he joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he currently holds the Thomas A. Scott Chair in Mathematics. He has worked in spectral theory, hyperbolic geometry, univalent function theory, microlocal analysis, several complex variables and index theory. For more than a decade, he has also worked on a range of problems in medical imaging, image analysis, computational electromagnetics and mathematical aspects of population genetics. He was a Sloan Foundation Fellow in 1988–90. In 2007, he founded the Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science at the University of Pennsylvania, which he continues to chair.


Nicholas M. Katz

Nicholas M. Katz works in arithmetic algebraic geometry, with particular interest in life over finite fields and in its interaction with life over the complex numbers. He is the author or coauthor of nine books and numerous papers on various aspects of these questions.

Katz, a student of Bernard Dwork, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1966. He then served there as instructor (1966–67), lecturer (1967–68), assistant professor (1968–71), associate professor (1971–74) and, since 1974, as professor. He was department chair 2002–2005. Since 2004, he has been an editor of Annals of Mathematics.

Katz was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow (1969–69), an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1971–72) and a Guggenheim Fellow (1975–76 and 1987–88). In 2003, he and Peter Sarnak were awarded the Levi L. Conant Prize of the American Mathematical Society. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2004, he was elected to the National Academy of Science.


S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan

S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan received his Ph.D in 1963 from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata with Professor C. R. Rao as his advisor. He then came to Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU, for postdoctoral studies and in 1966 joined its faculty. He has remained there, serving twice as its director. He is a probabilist who has worked on different aspects of stochastic processes. A major part of his work is related to large deviations, which estimates the probability of rare events. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of London and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is recipient of many awards including the Birkhoff Prize (SIAM & AMS), Steele Prize (AMS), Abel Prize (Norwegian Academy of Arts and Science), U.S. National Medal of Science and Padma Bhushan (Republic of India).


Theoretical Physics


Ramesh Narayan

Ramesh Narayan received his Ph.D. in 1979 from Bangalore University, India. After spending a few years as a postdoctoral scientist at the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, he went to California Institute of Technology in 1983, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a senior research fellow. He joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in 1985 and moved to Harvard University as a professor of astronomy in 1991. He is currently the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard.

Narayan works on a broad range of topics in theoretical astrophysics, including accretion disks, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, gravitational lensing, image processing, neutron stars and scattering theory. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences.


Karin Rabe

Karin Rabe is a computational materials physicist with a particular interest in the use of first-principles quantum-mechanical calculations for the study of phase transitions and the theoretical design of new materials. Born in New York City, she attended the Bronx High School of Science and majored in physics at Princeton University. She received a Ph.D. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1987) with thesis supervisor John Joannopoulos. Following two postdoctoral years in the theory department at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the Department of Applied Physics and the Department of Physics at Yale University, with tenure in 1995, and moved to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers in 2000, where she was promoted to Board of Governors professor of physics in 2013. She served as president of the Aspen Center for Physics from 2013 to 2016. Her recent professional recognition includes fellowship in the American Physical Society (2003), the David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics from the American Physical Society (2008), fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011) and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013) and the National Academy of Sciences (2013).

Using computational methods to solve the quantum mechanics of crystalline solids from first principles, Rabe studies systems at or near structural, electronic and magnetic phase transitions, including ferroelectrics, antiferroelectrics, piezoelectrics, high-k dielectrics, multiferroics and shape-memory compounds. The high sensitivity of such materials to applied fields and stresses gives rise to functional behavior with a broad range of technological applications, including information and energy storage and conversion. Rabe has a particular interest in the properties of non-bulk structures stabilized in strained thin layers and the distinctive properties of interfaces in superlattices and other artificially structured systems, which are most efficiently explored by first-principles-based modeling. She is currently focusing on the integration of first-principles methods with materials structure and property databases for the theoretical design of new materials with optimized or novel functional behavior and the discovery of new classes of functional materials.


Theoretical Computer Science


Alfred Aho

Alfred Aho is the Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He served as chair of the department from 1995 to 1997. After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University, he joined the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs, the lab that invented Unix, C and C++ and made many other fundamental contributions to computer science. He has won the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada. He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Waterloo, Helsinki and Toronto.

Aho is well known for his many papers and books on algorithms and data structures, programming languages, compilers and the foundations of computer science. He is the “A” in AWK, a widely used text-processing language, and wrote the first versions of the Unix pattern-matching utilities egrep and fgrep. His current research interests include programming languages, compilers, algorithms and quantum computation.

Aho has served as chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Section of the NAE, of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory, and of the advisory committee for the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. He was the theory of computation area editor for the Journal of the ACM and is currently editor of the contributed articles section of the Communications of the ACM.


Margaret H. Wright

Margaret H. Wright, a numerical analyst, is Silver Professor of computer science in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Her career path began with an M.S. in computer science from Stanford, scientific programming at GTE Sylvania, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford.

After that, she was a researcher in the Systems Optimization Laboratory in the Stanford Operations Research Department and then moved in 1988 to the Computing Sciences Research Center at AT&T Bell Labs. She joined the Computer Science Department at the Courant Institute in 2002 and served as chair of the department from 2002–2009.

Wright’s research focus is on optimization methods, including aspects of theory and practice in both mathematics and computer science (as well as scientific and engineering applications). Her special interests are non-derivative methods for nasty functions and interior-point methods for nonlinearly constrained problems.

Wright is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Waterloo and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. She has chaired the Advisory Committee for the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation, the Nevanlinna Prize Committee for the International Mathematical Union, and the International Review of the Mathematical Sciences in the United Kingdom.