Harry L. Swinney

University of Texas at Austin
Physicist; Educator
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
3pm Sunday 7/23 Harry L. Swinney, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, was the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair of Physics, 1990-2018. In 1985 he became the founding director of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics. in 2018 he became Professor Emeritus. In the 1970s-80s Swinney together with J.P. Gollub (Haverford College) conducted experiments on a fluid contained between rotating cylinders that revealed and characterized the onset of chaos at a well-defined cylinder rotation rate. Swinney's group then characterized instabilities, chaos, and turbulence in several other fluid flows. In the mid-1980s Someria and Swinney conducted experiments designed to explore theoretical predictions by PS Marcus (Berkeley) for the formation of Jupiter's Great Red Spot (GRS). The experiments provided insight into the formation and stability of the GRS, which had originally been observed with telescopes centuries earlier. A 1991 experiment by Ouyang and Swinney on a chemical system yielded the patterns that Alan Turing had predicted in his acclaimed 1953 paper, "The chemical basis for morphogenesis." Experiments and simulations by Swinney’s group on driven granular media yielded a variety of spatial patterns, including oscillating localized structures, dubbed "oscillons," which were subsequently found in mathematical models and in other types of physical and chemical systems. Swinney's recent research has focused on energy transport by internal gravity waves in the oceans, and crystallization in granular media. Swinney is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 1983-84 he was a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. He received the Jürgen Moser Award of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (2007), the Lewis Fry Richardson Medal of the European Geosciences Union (2012), and the Boltzmann Medal of the Commission on Statistical Physics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2013).
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