James A. Yorke
photo by A. La Porta
Distinguished University Research Professor of Mathematics and Physics
Institute for Physical
Science and Technology
James Yorke came to the University of Maryland as a math graduate student in 1963 hoping to explore interdisciplinary mathematics. Those hopes were fully realized after he ear ned his Ph.D. and joined the faculty of UMD’s IPST, an Institute established in 1950 and committed to interdisciplinary research in the sciences.
A degree in mathematics is a license to explore the universe.
His research papers range from chaos theory and genome research and the population dynamics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His chaos research is primarily on period doubling cascades and partial control of chaos. He acknowledges the benefits of having superb collaborators! Prof. Yorke has supervised about50 Ph.D. dissertations in the Depts. of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science. Dr. Yorke's Curriculum Vitae includes a list of over 300 publications, many with abstracts, and is available online, as is a list of those most frequently cited.
He is perhaps best known to the general public for coining the mathematical term "chaos" with T.Y. Li in a 1975 paper entitled "Period Three Implies Chaos". "Chaos" is a mathematical concept for processes that vary according to precise deterministic laws but appear to behave in random fashion. The University's chaos research group, is one of the best in the world. Yorke aims at describing those robust properties that are common in the dynamics of physical, biological, and chemical systems. Sometimes he describes the phenomena using rigorous mathematics, and sometimes only via phenomenological descriptions from intensive numerical studies. Most often, the research is a blend of numerical and rigorous techniques.
Professor Yorke has coauthored three books on chaos and a monograph on gonorrhea epidemiology:
· Dynamics: Numerical Explorations (written with Helena Nusse) on computational aspects of chaos
· Coping with Chaos (written with Edward Ott and Tim Sauer) is a collection of reprints focusing on how scientists observe, quantify, and control chaos.
· Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamical Systems (written with Kathleen Alligood and Tim Sauer) -- an interdisciplinary math text for seniors and beginning graduate students.
Main hobby: photography
Yorke on Youtube: Chaos and Fractals in Simple Physical Systems I
An interview on “The Connection” a PBS radio show;
An interview by Tim Sauer on the Dynamical Systems Web Portal;
An interview by
Isabel S. Labouriau (Univ. of Porto) in Bulletin of the