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Arjendu K. Pattanayak



The information on this page remains generally valid, but note that I am on sabbatical through the school year 2013-2014.

I am Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Carleton College. I just finished a 3-year term as Associate Dean of the College.

I started at Carleton in the Fall of 2001, coming here most recently from Rice University. I have rotated through a variety of courses, including introductory classes for scientists, a first-year seminar on chaos and complexity, quantum mechanics, advanced classical mechanics, analytical and computational mechanics, a 'physics for poets' class, solid-state physics, statistical and thermal physics, and recently, even a first-year seminar in Cross-Cultural Studies (!). It is really rewarding to teach here: the students are fun and challenging, and colleagues are a great inspiration and wonderful resource. Most importantly, there's a lot of opportunity and encouragement to teach mindfully -- that is, to think about and tinker with the issue of good teaching and effective learning.

Among the many reasons to aim for excellence in education is that it is vital to the long-term health of science. Of particular interest is the integration of research and education (see, for example, the Boyer report). I include references to current research in all my classes (even the introductory classes), and also like to work closely with students on projects as part of my ongoing research.

My research field is theoretical and computational non-linear dynamics, more broadly statistical physics. I am particularly interested in the quantum non-linear dynamics of systems that are chaotic in the classical limit, and in coherence and decoherence -- the impact of environmental noise and coarse-graining on these dynamics. While previous work was on fairly abstract issues, recent work has been done while working closely with experimentalists in atomic physics; other work has predictions about the behavior of fluid dynamical systems.

I have recently gotten interested in energy issues (renewable/non-fossil-fuel energy) broadly, including policy issues. I am starting work in particular on problems in micro-energy harvesting

Since linear dynamical systems are a small subset of the set of all possible systems, we have to understand and control nonlinear dynamics to explore the great majority of all possible physical phenomena. Nonlinear and chaotic dynamical systems promise to continue as a source of fascinating fundamental and applied physics for years to come. Nonlinear quantum systems are even more interesting, and moreover underlie future technology.

I write a blog/professional journal entitled Confused At A Higher Level.

' It is common knowledge that theoretical physicists often start off as amateur theologians. They want to understand the whole of reality ..' -- Bryce de Witt, Physics Today, Jan 2005

 

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Where to find me: Olin 337. Or +1 507 222 7166. Most reliably at a.pattanayak AT carleton.edu

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Carleton College, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, USA.

Fax: 507 222 4384

Arjendu K. Pattanayak 2002--