L. Mahadevan is the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, a professor of physics and of organismic and evolutionary biology, and a core member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, all at Harvard University. His work centers on using mathematics to understand the physical and biological organization of matter in space and time, particularly at the scale of the everyday world. He has published more than 200 papers on subjects as varied as the electromechanics of graphene, the biophysics of a blooming flower, and the statistical dynamics of climate change.
At the Institute, Mahadevan is combining his interests in mathematics, physics, and biology to develop an understanding of the complexity of shape by focusing on the brain. In particular, he hopes to understand how it got its iconic convolutions, how to characterize its normal and abnormal shape within and across species, and how its shape relates to its information processing capacity.
Mahadevan obtained his PhD at Stanford University and started his independent career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before moving to Harvard, he was the inaugural Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity College. He is currently an associate director of the NSF-funded Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines and a visiting professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford. Among his awards are a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, MIT’s Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, and Harvard’s George Ledlie Prize.