I study how intricate forms in the natural world are the organic result of simple physical law. Currently, I am interested in the dynamics displayed by bacterial communities in nutrient gradients. We have recently developed a physical understanding of how certain bacterial fronts spontaneously form bacterial waves that pull nutrients to cells. My thesis considered two examples of growth in a diffusion field: a network of streams that grows by attracting groundwater and a microbial community that grows by attracting nutrients. In both cases, we combine mathematical models with field observations and laboratory experiments to predict the shape and scale of growing features. Our results have provided insight into diverse phenomena: from Martian valleys to billion-year-old fossils.

Albert Libchaber
Daniel Rothman
Tanja Bosak
Olivier Devauchelle
Daniel Abrams
Special thanks to Liraz Greenfeld
for designing this website.