Nick Derr

Math, computing, biology, physics

About Me

My work combines high-performance computation with simplified analytical models because I believe the two yield 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 received my PhD in Applied Math from Harvard University, where I was advised by Prof. Chris Rycroft. I used continuum mechanics to model physical and biological systems such as cytoskeletal gels, reciprocal swimmers, and branching erosion patterns. During my PhD I was supported by the NSF-Simons Quantitative Biology Center at Harvard and an NDSEG Fellowship.

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 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.