MEHRAN KARDAR, Professor of Physics

Francis Friedman Professor of Physics

EMAIL: kardar@mit.edu

PHONE: (617) 253-3259

OFFICE: 6C-315

ASSISTANT: Lesley Keaney (617) 253-4878


Area of Physics:

Condensed Matter Theory, Biophysics

Research Interests

My research has mainly focused on the following problems in Statistical Mechanics:

  1. Non-equilibrium collective behavior as in turbulence, aggregation and deposition in growth, transport with random inputs and outputs., etc., is best described starting from phenomenological equations constructed on the basis of symmetries and conservation laws. We have successfully applied this methodology to several problems involving polymers, flux lines, and growing surfaces.
  2. Disordered systems such as spin- and flux-glasses, are characterized by a complex (free) energy landscape and slow dynamics. Using analytical solutions, or clever numerical algorithms, we have found exact results, or bounds, for a number of simple glassy systems motivated by flux lines in superconductors. Even these simple models are of great value, indicating interesting connections to diverse problems in optimization, neural networks, and evolution.
  3. Biologically motivated problems such as the evolution of orientational selectivity in cells of the visual cortex, and conformations of heteropolymers.

Biographical Sketch

Professsor Kardar received both his B.A. in Natural Sciences (1979) and his M.A. (1983) from the University of Cambridge . From 1983–86, he was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows and in 1986 he joined the MIT Department of Physics as an Assistant Professor. In 1990, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Physics, receiving tenure in 1992 and a full professorship in 1996.

Honors and awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1987–91), a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1989), the MIT Class of 1948 Career Development Chair (1990–92), the MIT Edgerton Award for Junior Faculty Achievements (1991), the Buechner Teaching Prize of the MIT Department of Physics (1992), and the MIT School of Science Prize in Graduate Teaching (1993).

Selected Publications

Professor Kardar's Complete Publication List

Last updated on March 5, 2015 10:55 AM