James Yorke

Distinguished University Professor
1103 Mathematics Building
(301) 405 5051
Ph.D., University of Maryland (Mathematics)
Special Awards/Honors: 
Fellow of the American Physical Society,
Japan Prize Laureate,
AAAS Fellow,
University of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research/Scholarship,
Guggenheim Fellow

James A. Yorke is a Distinguished University Professor of mathematics and physics with an affiliate appointment in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

His current research projects range from chaos theory and weather prediction and genome research to the population dynamics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Yorke's chaos research is primarily on period doubling cascades and partial control of chaos.

He has supervised more than 40 doctoral dissertations in the departments of mathematics, physics, and computer science. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications and five books.

He is best known to the general public for coining the mathematical term "chaos" with T.Y. Li in a 1975 paper entitled "Period Three Implies Chaos." "Chaos" is a mathematical concept for processes that vary according to precise deterministic laws, but appear to behave in random fashion.

UMD's chaos research group is one of the best in the world. Yorke aims at describing those robust properties that are common in the dynamics of physical, biological and chemical systems. Sometimes he describes the phenomena using rigorous mathematics, and sometimes only via phenomenological descriptions from intensive numerical studies. Most often, the research is a blend of numerical and rigorous techniques.

He earned his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1966, and joined the university's Institute for Physical Science and Technology, an institute established in 1950.


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