The macroscopic dynamics and emergent patterns of systems far from equilibrium can be very rich, ranging from simple steady states to oscillatory, phase synchronized or chaotic motion and even more complex spatiotemporal behavior. (Geo-)physical, chemical and biological systems of this type are common in nature. The observed phenomena include spiral waves in surface catalysis, periodic and aperiodic behavior in the heart, fluid and chemical turbulence as well as complex neuronal and seismic pattern dynamics, to name only a few. Very often, the understanding of these systems is of direct importance for society. Prediction of extreme events like earthquakes and controlling the development of fibrillation and the occurrence of sudden cardiac death among healthy people are just two examples.
The theoretical framework of statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics already offers valuable tools, yet we are still far away from a general understanding of the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of non-equilibrium systems and their emergent macroscopic properties. It is, thus, necessary to identify and develop further diagnostics and concepts that reflect the specific aspects of systems far from equilibrium. The pivotal goal of my interdisciplinary research program is to identify universal and emergent properties and patterns of non-equilibrium systems and to understand their origin, their stability and the self-organization processes leading to them.
My highly data-driven theoretical approach is guided by the philosophy to concentrate on the development of conceptual models that provide an appropriate coarse-grained description of the system. With these models, I attempt to predict properties that are not sensitive to the details of the system. Specifically, I try to identify quantitative patterns in the time evolution and structure of (geo-)physical, biological and chemical systems that may be robust against changes in the details of the system. In reviewing the press releases, individual research projects and publications, you will find that this approach can be used to address a wide variety of fundamental issues including those worth of the Nobel prize.
My current research is supported by NSERC (including the Discovery Accelerator Supplements program), MITACS (now mprime), The Alberta Ingenuity Fund (now Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Eyes High Initiative at the University of Calgary.
Note: Don't hesitate to contact me if you are interested in joining my group as a new student or postdoc. My contact details are given here.