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Math @ Duke



Thomas P. Witelski, Professor

Thomas P. Witelski
Contact Info:
Office Location:  295 Physics
Office Phone:  00-1-(919) 660-2841
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Typical Courses Taught:

  • MATH 229, Mathematical Modeling
  • MATH 228, Mathematical Fluid Dynamics
  • MATH 211, Applied Partial Differential Eqns and Complex Variables

PhD, Applied MathCaltech1995
BS in EngineeringCooper Union1991
DiplomaStuyvesant High School1987

Applied Math
Research Interests: Fluid Dynamics, Perturbation Methods, Asymptotic Analysis, Nonlinear Ordinary and Partial differential equations

My primary area of expertise is the solution of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations via perturbation methods. Using asymptotics along with a mixture of other applied mathematical techniques in analysis and scientific computing I study a broad range of applications in physical systems. Focuses of my work include problems in viscous fluid flow, dynamical systems, and industrial applications. Through my research I am working to extend the understanding of nonlinear diffusion processes in physical systems. Studying problems in a range of different fields has given me a unique opportunity to interact with a diverse set of collaborators and to transfer analytic techniques across the traditional boundaries that separate fields.

Areas of Interest:

Fluid dynamics
Partial differential equations
Asymptotics/Perturbation methods
Industrial and Applied mathematics

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

Postdocs Mentored

Undergraduate Research Supervised

  • Veronica Ciocanel (May, 2010 - May, 2012)
    2012 Faculty Scholar, Honorable mention, Graduation with Distinction in Mathematics: Modeling and numerical simulation of the nonlinear dynamics of the forced planar string pendulum 
  • Jeremy Semko (May, 2009 - May, 2010)
    Thesis: Statistical Analysis of Simulations of Coarsening Droplets Coating a Hydrophobic Surface 
  • Lingren Zhang (July, 2006 - September, 2006)
    Thesis: The Motion of Sets of Vortices
    Undergraduate summer research 
  • Qinzheng Tian (July, 2005 - September, 2005)
    Thesis: Simulation of Newtonian fluid fluid between rotating cylinders
    Undergraduate summer research 
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. T.P. Witelski, L.N. Virgin, C. George, A driven system of impacting pendulums: Experiments and simulations, Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol. 333 no. 6 (March, 2014), pp. 1734-1753 [doi]
  2. N.S. Hall Taylor, I.J. Hewitt, J.R. Ockendon, T.P. Witelski, A new model for disturbance waves, International Journal of Multiphase Flow, vol. 66 (2014), pp. 38-45 [doi]
  3. S.J.Chapman, P.H.Trinh and T.P. Witelski, Exponential asymptotics for thin film rupture, SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, vol. 73 no. 1 (2013), pp. 232-253 [120872012], [doi]
  4. L.B.Smolka and T.P. Witelski, Biaxial extensional motion of an inertially driven radially-expanding liquid sheet, Physics of Fluids, vol. 25 no. 062105 (2013) [doi]
  5. T.P. Witelski, D. Ambrose, A. Bertozzi, A. Layton, ZL. Li, M. Minion, Preface: special issue on fluid dynamics, analysis and numerics, Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems Series B, vol. 17 no. 4 (June, 2012), pp. i-ii
Recent Grant Support

  • FRG: Collaborative Research: Dynamics of Thin Liquid Films: Mathematics and Experiments, NSF #0968252, 2010/06-2013/05.      
  • CAREER Award, NSF, 2003/09.      
Conferences Organized

Journal editorial boards Other Activities
ph: 919.660.2800
fax: 919.660.2821

Mathematics Department
Duke University, Box 90320
Durham, NC 27708-0320