Michael P. Brenner is the Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and a Harvard College Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. His research uses methods and ideas of applied mathematics to address a variety of problems in science and engineering, ranging from understanding the shapes of whale flippers, bird beaks, and fungal spores to developing ideas for creating materials that spontaneously assemble themselves and answering ordinary questions about daily life, such as why a droplet of fluid splashes when it collides with a solid surface.
At Radcliffe, Brenner will carry out research and writing inspired by an undergraduate class he codeveloped, Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter. Phenomena in cooking raise a multitude of scientific questions, which mathematical models could play an important role in resolving. Additionally, Brenner will continue to find new ways of using mathematical models to understand a variety of phenomena, ranging from the evolution of bird beaks to the interaction of vortex filaments in a fluid.
Brenner did his undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1994. Before moving to Harvard in 2001, he was a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at MIT.