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Dr. L Mahadevan

1986 - B.Tech - Mechanical Engineering England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics @ Harvard University

Prof. L. Mahadevan received his B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering) degree from IIT Madras in 1986, Masters (Engineering Mechanics) degree from University of Texas at Austin in 1987, Masters (Mathematics) degree and PhD from Stanford University in 1992 and 1995, respectively.

Prof. Mahadevan is presently England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, and is also affiliated with the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining Harvard University, he was the inaugural holder of the Schlumberger Chair in Complex Physical Systems in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University and Professorial Fellow at Trinity College. He started his academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996 and is currently Schlumberger Visiting Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

Prof. Mahadevan uses quantitative approaches to understand the non-linear and non-equilibrium mechanical behavior of living and nonliving matter. Much of the inspiration for his work arises from simple curiosity about what might be deemed familiar phenomena but are nevertheless broadly relevant to questions in a variety of fields. His approach is a very practical one – using whatever it takes to understand a problem: experiment and theory, analysis and computation, mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, biology… His research on how a Venus flytrap works is a typical example of this, as are his studies on problems such as the dynamics of occlusion and rescue in sickle cell disease, the crumpling of paper, the drying of mud, the patterns in flowing liquids, the mechanics of DNA, etc.

Prof. Mahadevan has more than a hundred publications to his credit and has received many awards and given many named lectures. These include the Society of Engineering Science’s Young Investigator Medal (2000), MIT’s Edgerton award (2000), the G I Taylor Lectureship at the Cambridge Philosophical Society (2001), a Chaire Condorcet at Ecole Normale Superieure-Paris (2001), the Alan Tayler Lectureship at Oxford University (2003), Harvard’s Ledlie prize (2006), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), a Miller Visiting Professorship at the University of California, Berkeley (2007), an Ig-Nobel prize (2007), the Penner Lectureship at the University of California, Sa Diego (2008), and most recently, a MacArthur Fellowship (2009), for work exhibiting outstanding creativity and promise.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Applied Mathematics, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer on him this award.

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