In his work in applied mathematics, Steven Strogatz studies the way math and biology intersect.
Steven Strogatz studies some of the most interesting problems in applied mathematics -- such as the intersection of math and biology, looking for patterns in the human sleep-wake cycle or in swarms of blinking fireflies.
He's been looking at nonlinear dynamics and chaos applied to physics, engineering and biology, and branching out into new areas, such as explorating of the small-world phenomenon in social networks (popularly known as "six degrees of separation"), and its generalization to other complex networks in nature and technology.
Strogatz' work has been in the news as British engineers released the definitive paper on the Millenium Bridge wobble, and its roots in how people walk on an unpredictable surface.
In 2012, he re-examined the "birthday problem" >>
“Fireflies in North America, like so many North American sorts of things, tend to be independent operators. They ignore each other.”
“For some reason we take pleasure in synchronizing.”
“It’s a deep tendency toward order in nature that opposes what we’ve all been taught about entropy. I’m not saying the law of entropy is wrong — it’s not. But there is a countervailing force in the universe — the tendency towards spontaneous order.”