Philip J. Holmes

Philip J. Holmes

Fellow: Awarded 1993
Field of Study: Applied Mathematics

Competition: US & Canada

Education: Cornell University

Philip Holmes was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1945 and educated at the Universities of Oxford and Southampton, obtaining a Ph.D. in Engineering in 1974. He taught at Cornell University from 1977 to 1994, where he was latterly the Charles N. Mellowes Professor of Engineering and Professor of Mathematics. In 1994 he moved to Princeton University, where he directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics until 1997 and is now Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics. He has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley; Centre de Recherches Mathématiques, Université de Montréal; the California Institute of Technology; Université de Nice; Universität Stuttgart; Université de Paris, the Paul Erdos Mathematical Center, Budapest; and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Holmes works on the mathematical foundations and applications of ‘chaos theory’ and nonlinear dynamics. He teaches courses at all levels and conducts seminars in dynamics and applied mathematics. He has worked on problems in classical mechanics, instabilities in elastic structures and fluid flows, turbulence, and nonlinear optics. His current interests focus on neuroscience and biomechanics, including animal locomotion and the modelling of decision making and other aspects of brain and nervous system function. He has published over 200 papers and articles, and supervised 32 Ph.D. theses and 20 postdoctoral fellows. He is co-author, with John Guckenheimer, of a textbook on dynamical systems; with John L. Lumley and Gahl Berkooz, of a monograph on low dimensional models of turbulence; with Florin Diacu, of Celestial Encounters: an historical account of the people and ideas at the roots of chaos theory, and, with Robert Ghrist and Michael Sullivan, of a monograph on knots and links in three-dimensional flows.

In a parallel life, he has published four collections of poetry. The second, A Place to Stand, won an Eric Gregory Award (UK Society of Authors) in 1975 and The Green Road (1986) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Lighting the Steps appeared in 2002, and more recent poems can be found in The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science (2008).

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