Steven Strogatz

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Professor Steven Strogatz
Steven H Strogatz.jpg
Born Steven Henry Strogatz
(1959-08-13) August 13, 1959 (age 55)
Torrington, Connecticut, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Complex systems
Applied mathematics
Chaos theory[1]
Institutions Cornell University
University of Cambridge
Princeton University
Harvard University
Boston University
Alma mater Princeton University
Trinity College, Cambridge
Harvard University
Thesis The Mathematical Structure of the Human Sleep-Wake Cycle
Doctoral advisor Richard Ernest Kronauer
Charles Czeisler[2]
Doctoral students Daniel Abrams
Samuel Arbesman
Joel Ariaratnam
Mauricio Barahona García
Duncan Callaway
Lauren Childs
Michelle Girvan
Erik Martens
Seth Marvel
Shinya Watanabe
Duncan J. Watts
Daniel Wiley
Man Yeung[2]
Known for Watts and Strogatz model
Dynamical systems theory
Network theory
Notable awards Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Steven Henry Strogatz (/ˈstrɡæts/; born August 13, 1959) is an American mathematician and the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.[3][4] He is known for his contributions to the study of synchronization in dynamical systems, and for his work in a variety of areas of applied mathematics, including mathematical biology and complex network theory.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][1][12][13]


Strogatz attended the Loomis Chaffee School (1972–1976) and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Princeton University in 1980. He was a Marshall Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1980–1982, and then received a PhD[14] in applied mathematics from Harvard University in 1986 for his research on the dynamics of the human sleep-wake cycle.


Strogatz's 1998 Nature paper with Duncan Watts, entitled "Collective dynamics of small-world networks",[15] is widely regarded as a seminal contribution to the interdisciplinary field of complex networks, whose applications reach from graph theory and statistical physics to sociology, business, epidemiology, and neuroscience. As one measure of its importance, it was the most highly cited article about networks between 1998 and 2008, and the sixth most highly cited paper in all of physics.[16]

Strogatz's writing includes the 1994 textbook Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos,[11] three popular books, and frequent newspaper articles. His book, published in 2009, The Calculus of Friendship,[9] was called "a genuine tearjerker"[17] and "part biography, part autobiography and part off-the-beaten-path guide to calculus".[18] His trade book Sync[10] was chosen as a Best Book of 2003 by Discover Magazine.[19] Strogatz also filmed a series of lectures on chaos theory for the Teaching Company,[20] released in 2008,[21] and, in late January 2010, Strogatz began writing a weekly column on mathematics in The New York Times.[22] These columns, along with many others penned by Strogatz, now appear in a book entitled The Joy of x[8] released in October 2012.[23] The New York Times columns have been described as "must reads for entrepreneurs and executives who grasp that mathematics is now the lingua franca of serious business analysis."[24]


After spending three years as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and Boston University, Strogatz joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics at MIT in 1989. His research on dynamical systems was recognized with a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1990. In 1994 he moved to Cornell where he is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor[25] of Applied Mathematics, as well as a Professor of Mathematics.


Strogatz is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics[26] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[27]

Strogatz has been lauded for his ability as a teacher and communicator. In 1991 he was honored with the E.M. Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, MIT's only institute-wide teaching award selected and awarded solely by students. He has also won several teaching awards from Cornell's College of Engineering, including the Tau Beta Pi Excellence in Teaching Award (2006), given to a faculty member selected by engineering students for exemplary teaching. At the national level, Strogatz received the JPBM Communications Award in 2007.[28] Presented annually, this award recognizes outstanding achievement in communicating about mathematics to nonmathematicians. The JPBM represents the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 2013 he received the AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award[29] for "his exceptional commitment to and passion for conveying the beauty and importance of mathematics to the general public."

In 1994, Strogatz won the title of "World's Strongest Man" by defeating Mark Newman in the tug-of-war.

Strogatz was selected to be the 2009 Rouse Ball Lecturer at Cambridge[30] and a MIT Mathematics 2011 Simons lecturer.[31]

In 2014 he was awarded the Euler Book Prize by The Mathematical Association of America for "The Joy of x".[32] The award citation[33] describes the book as "a masterpiece of expository writing" and remarks that it is "directed to the millions of readers who claim they never really understood what the mathematics they studied was all about, for whom math was a series of techniques to be mastered for no apparent reason."


  1. ^ a b List of publications from Google Scholar
  2. ^ a b Steven Strogatz at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Strogatz personal web page
  4. ^ Strogatz at Cornell
  5. ^ Strogatz, S. H. (2001). "Exploring complex networks". Nature 410 (6825): 268–276. doi:10.1038/35065725. PMID 11258382.  edit
  6. ^ Mirollo, R. E.; Strogatz, S. H. (1990). "Synchronization of Pulse-Coupled Biological Oscillators". SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics 50 (6): 1645–1662. doi:10.1137/0150098.  edit
  7. ^ Strogatz, S. (2000). "From Kuramoto to Crawford: Exploring the onset of synchronization in populations of coupled oscillators". Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 143: 1–20. doi:10.1016/S0167-2789(00)00094-4.  edit
  8. ^ a b Strogatz, Steven H (2012). The Joy of x : A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity. Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0547517650. 
  9. ^ a b Strogatz, Steven H (2009). The calculus of friendship : what a teacher and a student learned about life while corresponding about math. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13493-2. OCLC 276274618. 
  10. ^ a b Strogatz, Steven (2003). Sync : the emerging science of spontaneous order. Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-6844-5. OCLC 50511177. 
  11. ^ a b Strogatz, Steven (1994). Nonlinear dynamics and chaos : with applications to physics, biology, chemistry, and engineering. Perseus Books. ISBN 978-0-201-54344-5. OCLC 42140115. 
  12. ^ Steven Strogatz from the Scopus bibliographic database.
  13. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  14. ^ Strogatz, Steven H. (1986). The mathematical structure of the human sleep-wake cycle. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-17176-2. 
  15. ^ Watts, D. J.; Strogatz, S. H. (1998). "Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks". Nature 393 (6684): 440–442. doi:10.1038/30918. PMID 9623998.  edit
  16. ^ ScienceWatch December 2008
  17. ^ Bookslut book review for The Calculus of Friendship
  18. ^ American Scientist book review for The Calculus of Friendship
  19. ^ Discover's Best Books 2003
  20. ^ Strogatz, Steven H. (2008). Chaos. The Teaching Company. ISBN 978-1-59803-450-9. OCLC 262464884. 
  21. ^ Cornell University Press Release
  22. ^ First New York Times Math Column
  23. ^ Final New York Times Math Column
  24. ^ Harvard Business Review blog by Michael Schrage
  25. ^ Cornell news article about Schurman Professors
  26. ^ SIAM Fellows Class of 2009
  27. ^ AAAS Fellows elected 2012
  28. ^ JPBM award announcement
  29. ^ AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Euler Book Prize
  33. ^ Citation for Euler Book Prize, pp. 22-23

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