Faculty Profiles

faculty photo imageLucas Illing

Associate Professor of Physics
Physics Department
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Born in Germany, I studied physics at the Humboldt University in Berlin, obtained my Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2002 and joined Reed College in 2007 after a postdoctoral position at Duke University. I am interested in the nonlinear dynamics of dissipative systems and networks of such systems. Through an interplay of theory and tabletop experiments I address questions such as: How do systems transition from equilibrium to a state of complicated non-repeating oscillations as parameters are changed? How does one determine the value of those parameters from measured output? What new collective phenomena arise when several oscillatory systems are linked to form a network? How do these phenomena depend on the topology of the network, the coupling strengths and the coupling delays that arise due to finite signal propagation times? Experiments in my lab range from mechanical systems, such as a chaotic water wheel whose slow movements can be observed with the naked eye, to optoelectronic oscillators whose light intensity fluctuates on timescales of nanoseconds or less.

Physics Department webpage

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