University of Maryland





James A. Yorke


                                                                                                                                               photo by A. La Porta

Distinguished University Research Professor of Mathematics and Physics 

Institute for Physical Science and Technology
University of Maryland, 
College Park, MD 20742



A.B., Columbia University 1963;   Ph.D. in Mathematics, University of Maryland 1966

Hobby: photography                             A Recent Lecture on Video: Partial Control of chaos     Banff 2012
(research with Juan Sabuco and Miguel A. F. Sanjuán and Samuel Zambrano (Madrid))

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

See also 

Yorke on Youtube: Chaos and Fractals in Simple Physical Systems I 

                                        Chaos and Fractals in Simple Physical Systems II

                                        Chaos and Fractals in Simple Physical Systems III

Some papers and preprints, and Dynamics Software, and Math452 (chaos);

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
International Center for Math. Dec. 2006   See pp 20-25;

Childhood science influences;

Math 410, Advanced Calculus, Spring 2006.

Math 452, Chaos, Fall 2006

HIV testing – the controversy


Contact Information:

Professor James Yorke
Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology
UMCP, College Park, MD 20742
Email: Yorke  at  UMD.EDU