Nick Derr

Math, computing, biology, physics

I am a PhD Candidate in Applied Math at Harvard University, where I work with Prof. Chris Rycroft. I use continuum mechanics to model physical and biological systems such as cytoskeletal gels, reciprocal swimmers, and branching erosion patterns. My work combines high-performance computation with simplified models because I believe the two approaches together are more than the sum of their parts. Simplified models reveal the underlying structure of a solution and give context to computational results, and efficient numerical methods allow for the evaluation of highly complex or intractable models.

I am supported by the NSF-Simons Quantitative Biology Center at Harvard. Previously, I was an NDSEG Fellow.

I completed Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of Churchill College. My essay, Artificial phoretic microswimmers, is here. During this time, I was supported by a Marcus L. Urann Fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Applied Math, Engineering and Physics (AMEP) and Astronomy-Physics. I also completed certificates in Computer Science and Business and played trumpet in the marching band. I won the Theodore Herfurth Award, awarded each year to the two graduating students who “made the most effective use of their time at UW-Madison.” I performed research on the lunar exosphere with the support of a Hilldale Fellowship.