Theodore Drivas Named 2024 Sloan Research Fellow for Mathematics

Theodore Drivas, an assistant professor in the Stony Brook University Department of Mathematics, has been selected as a 2024 Sloan Research Fellow and awarded $75,000 toward his research investigating the mathematical characteristics of fluid motion.

Sloan Research Fellows are marked as the most auspicious scholars in their fields and are projected to become the next generation of scientific leaders across the United States and Canada. The funding granted to each fellow may be spent over a two-year term on any research-related expenses of choice. Drivas is one of 126 early-career scholars honored in 2024 and the 71st Stony Brook faculty member to receive the distinction since 1961.

“Congratulations to Dr. Drivas for this extraordinary accomplishment that recognizes exemplary early career performance,” said Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis. “As a Sloan Research Fellow, Dr. Drivas is among the top researchers in his field who is also an inspiring educator and mentor to our students. It is a proud moment for Stony Brook, and I look forward to watching the continued evolution of his research and scholarly work in the years to come.”

Drivas, who joined Stony Brook in 2021, has also received a Charles Simonyi Endowment from the Institute for Advanced Study as well as several awards from the National Science Foundation, including a Faculty Early Career Development grant. He currently teaches an upper-division undergraduate course and a graduate course and has contributed to dozens of studies on fluid dynamics, turbulence theory, differential equations and more.

“This is a tremendous honor for Dr. Drivas, placing him among a select set of researchers recognized for their potential to significantly advance their fields,” said Provost Carl Lejuez. “These prestigious awards are cause for celebration, both for the acclaim they bring to the individual researchers, and for the further elevation of Stony Brook’s reputation as an institution that promotes excellence and innovation in all that we do. I am thrilled for Dr. Drivas to be recognized with a Sloan Fellowship.”

“This has been an exciting year for Theo Drivas, having also recently received an NSF CAREER award in support of his research,” said Scott Sutherland, professor and chair, Department of Mathematics. “In addition to his research program, which is of the highest caliber, Theo has been an exemplary member of the Stony Brook Department of Mathematics. He joins a cohort of distinguished faculty in our Department who have been honored with this prestigious award, and I am exceedingly pleased that the Sloan Foundation has recognized his outstanding achievements. We are very fortunate to have Theo as a member of our Mathematics faculty.”  

Drivas’ research focuses on the mathematical aspects of fluid motion. The prototype of all such systems is the Euler equation, which governs the motion of an ideal, incompressible fluid. The physically relevant regime is that of long times, possibly perturbed by weak friction/forcing.

According to Drivas, a  rather surprising and mysterious feature is that, in two space dimensions (e.g., planetary atmospheres), the Euler equations can describe the birth and permanence of order in the form of large hurricane-like whirls. Real-world examples are the great red spot on Jupiter or the hexagonal vortex on Saturn’s pole.

Before joining Stony Brook, Drivas was assistant professor of mathematics at Princeton University, where he completed his postdoctoral fellowship. He holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Mathematics and Physics with honors from the University of Chicago.

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