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Math @ Duke



Rick Durrett, James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics and Director of Graduate Studies

Rick Durrett
Contact Info:
Office Location:  105 Physics
Office Phone:  (919) 660-6970
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2015):

  • MATH 641.01, PROBABILITY Synopsis
    Physics 259, MWF 01:40 PM-02:30 PM
Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Physics 119, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as STA 621.01)

PhDStanford University1976
MSEmory University1973
BSEmory University1972

Research Interests:

Probability problems that arise from genetics and ecology, especially stochastic spatial models and cancer models. Random graphs and processes that take place on them.

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

Postdocs Mentored

  • David Herzog (2011-2014)  
  • Andreas Aristotelous (2011-2014)  
  • Marc Ryser (Jan 2012-July 2015)  
  • David Sivakoff (2010-2012)  
  • John Mayberry (2008 - 2010)  
  • Soumik Pal (2006 - 2008)  
  • Lea Popovic (2005 - 2007)  
  • Paul Jung (2003 - 2007)  
  • Iljana Zahle (2002 - 2003)  
  • Jason Schweinsberg (2001 - 2004)  
  • Vlada Limic (2000 - 2003)  
Undergraduate Research Supervised

  • Luxi Wei (Fall 2013)
    In the Fall of 2013, she read papers on modeling credit risk in preparation for writing a senior thesis. 
  • Anne Talkington (Summer and Fall 2013)
    In the summer of 2013 she studied models for cancer growth as part of the math biology RTG. In Fall 2013 she continued to do research on this topic in an independent study 
  • Kaveh Danesh (2011-2012)
    In a collaboration with Evan Myers and Laura Havrilesky in the Duke Medical school, we worked on predicting the window of opportunity for ovarian cancer screening, resulting in a paper in J. Theor. Biol. Kaveh was a Fulbright Scholar studying cancer villages in China during 2013-2014, and is now in the Applied Math program. Since he is a student trustee I see him three times a year when they meet. 
  • Yifei Chen (Summer 2011)
    Participant in math bio RTG. His simulations were useful in improving a reuslt in my paper on population genetics of exponentially growing populations. 
  • Aashiq Dheeraj (2012-2013)
    Math Bio RTG participant. Studied spatial versions of evolutionary game models in cancer. 
  • Conrad de Peuter (Spring 2013)
    Using Markov renewal processes to model basketball games. 
  • Willie Zheng (Spring 2013)
    Supervised his honors thesis in Math. 
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. C. Varghese and R. Durrett, Phase transition in the quadratic contact process on complex networks, Physical Review E, vol. 87 (2013), pp. paper 062819
  2. Feng Shi, Peter Mucha, and R. Durrett, Multi-opinion coevolving voter model with infinitely many phase transitions, Physical Review E (Accepted, 2013)
  3. Andreas Aristotelos and R. Durrett, Chemical evolutionary games, Theoretical Population Biology (Submitted, 2013)
  4. K. Danesh, R. Durrett, L. Havrilesky, and E. Myers, A branching process model of ovarian cancer, J. Theor. Biol., vol. 314 (2013), pp. 10-15
  5. J.T. Cox, R. Durrett, E. Perkins, Voter model perturbations and reaction diffusion equations, Asterique, vol. 349 (2013), pp. 1-113 [math.PR/1103.1676]
  6. R. Durrett and S. Moseley, Spatial Moran Models. I. Tunneling in the Neutral Case, Annals Applied Probability (Accepted, 2013)
  7. R. Durrett, Phase transition in a meta-population version of Schelling's model (Submitted, 2012)
  8. R. Durrett, J. Foo, and K. Leder, Spatial Moran Models II. Tumor growth and progression (Submitted, 2012)
  9. R. Durrett and D. Remenik, Evolution of dispersal distance, J. Mathematical Biology, vol. 64 (2012), pp. 657-666
  10. R. Durrett, Population genetics of neutral mutations in exponentially growing cancer cell populations, Annals of Applied Probability, vol. 23 (2012), pp. 230-250
  11. R. Durrett, J.P. Gleeson, A.L. Lloyd, P.J. Mucha, Feng Shi, D. Sivakoff, J.E.S. Socoloar, and C. Varghese, Graph fission in an evolving voter model, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 109 (2012), pp. 3682-3687
  12. R. Durrett, J. Foo, K. Leder, J. Mayberry, and F. Michor, Intratumor heterogeneity in evolutionary models of tumor progression, Genetics, vol. 188 (2011), pp. 461-477
  13. R. Durrett and Stephen Moseley, Evolution of resistance and progression to disease during clonal expansion of cancer, Theor. Pop. Biol., vol. 77 (2010), pp. 42-48
  14. R. Durrett, J. Foo, K. Leder, J. Mayberry, and F. Michor, Evolutionary dynamics of tumor progression with random fitness values, Theor. Pop. Biol., vol. 78 (2010), pp. 54-66 [math.PR/1003.1927]
  15. R. Durrett and Shirshendu Chatterjee, Asymptotic behavior of Aldous' gossip process, Annals of Applied Probability, vol. 21 (2010), pp. 2447-2482 [math.PR/1005.1608]
  16. R. Durrett, Special invited paper: Coexistence in stochastic spatial models, The Annals of Applied Probability, vol. 19 (2009), pp. 477--496, ISSN 1050-5164 [MR2521876 (2010g:60213)]
  17. R. Durrett and Deena Schmidt, Waiting for two mutations with applications to regulatory sequence evolution and the limits of Darwinian evolution, Genetics, vol. 180 (2008), pp. 1510-1509
Selected Invited Lectures

  1. IMS Wald Lectures, 2008    
  2. Medallion Lecture SPA Paris, 2006    
  3. St Flour Probability Summer School, 1993    
  4. International Congress of Math, 1990, Kyoto    
Recent Grant Support

  • Stochastic Spatial Models, National Science Foundation, DMS 1331778, 2013/09-2015/08.      
  • Biodiversity and Evolution - Support for US participants, National Science Foundation, DMS 1305997, 2013/09-2014/08.      
  • Mathematical Models of Cancer Initiation Progression and Reistance to Therapy, National Institutes of Health, 7R01GM096190-02, 2010/07-2014/06.      
  • Workshop for Women in Probability - Participant Support, National Science Foundation, 2012/07-2013/07.      
  • Ecology, Evolution, and Random Graphs, National Science Foundation, DMS-1057675, 2010/09-2013/07.      
Conferences Organized
ph: 919.660.2800
fax: 919.660.2821

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