Thomas P. Witelski

Thomas P. Witelski
  • Professor in the Department of Mathematics
  • Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (Secondary)
External address: 295 Physics Bldg, Box 90320, Durham, NC 27708-0320
Internal office address: Box 90320, Durham, NC 27708-0320
Phone: (919) 660-2841

Research Areas and Keywords


perturbation methods

Computational Mathematics

numerical partial differential equations

PDE & Dynamical Systems

fluid dynamics, nonlinear partial differential equations, dynamical systems, perturbation methods

Physical Modeling

fluid dynamics

My primary area of expertise is the solution of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations for models of physical systems. Using asymptotics along with a mixture of other applied mathematical techniques in analysis and scientific computing I study a broad range of applications in engineering and applied science. Focuses of my work include problems in viscous fluid flow, dynamical systems, and industrial applications. Approaches for mathematical modelling to formulate reduced systems of mathematical equations corresponding to the physical problems is another significant component of my work.

Education & Training
  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1995

  • B.S.E., The Cooper Union 1991

Smolka, L. B., et al. “Oil capture from a water surface by a falling sphere.” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, vol. 497, May 2016, pp. 126–32. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.colsurfa.2016.02.026. Full Text

George, C., et al. “Experimental study of regular and chaotic transients in a non-smooth system.” International Journal of Non Linear Mechanics, vol. 81, May 2016, pp. 55–64. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.ijnonlinmec.2015.12.006. Full Text

Witelski, T. P. “Preface to the special issue on “Thin films and fluid interfaces”.” Journal of Engineering Mathematics, vol. 94, no. 1, Oct. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s10665-014-9760-z. Full Text

Dijksman, Joshua A., et al. “Obtaining self-similar scalings in focusing flows.Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, vol. 92, no. 4, Oct. 2015, p. 043016. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physreve.92.043016. Full Text

Witelski, T., et al. “A driven system of impacting pendulums: Experiments and simulations.” Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol. 333, no. 6, Mar. 2014, pp. 1734–53. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jsv.2013.11.004. Full Text

Hall Taylor, N. S., et al. “A new model for disturbance waves.” International Journal of Multiphase Flow, vol. 66, Jan. 2014, pp. 38–45. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.ijmultiphaseflow.2014.06.004. Full Text

Smolka, L. B., and T. P. Witelski. “Biaxial extensional motion of an inertially driven radially expanding liquid sheet.” Physics of Fluids, vol. 25, no. 6, Jan. 2013. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4811389. Full Text

Chapman, S. Jonathan, et al. “Exponential Asymptotics for Thin Film Rupture.Siam J. Appl. Math., vol. 73, 2013, pp. 232–53.

Huang, Y., et al. “Anomalous exponents of self-similar blow-up solutions to an aggregation equation in odd dimensions.” Applied Mathematics Letters, vol. 25, no. 12, Dec. 2012, pp. 2317–21. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.aml.2012.06.023. Full Text

Witelski, T., et al. “Preface: Special issue on fluid dynamics, analysis and numerics.” Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems  Series B, vol. 17, no. 4, June 2012. Scopus, doi:10.3934/dcdsb.2012.17.4i. Full Text


2016 PhD Graduates

Six graduate students participated in the May 15, 2016 graduation ceremonies to celebrate earning their PhDs in Mathematics. Their thesis topics were impressive and varied, and reflected the breadth of study in the department. Their advisors and... read more »