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Faculty Profile

Lars English

Professor of Physics (2003)

Contact Information

Tome Scientific Building Room 219


Dr. English has published more than 40 peer-reviewed research articles exploring “the nonlinear dynamics of complex systems.” His research interests broadly fall within the field of nonlinear and statistical physics. In recent years, topics have included: Intrinsic Localized Modes in Nonlinear Lattices, Spontaneous Synchronization of Oscillator Arrays, Pattern Formation, Instability, Bifurcation, Symmetry Breaking, Self-Organization Solitons, Skyrmions, and Chimera states. He has studied (both experimentally and numerically) systems as varied as: nonlinear electrical transmission lines, chains of coupled pendula , networks of neuronal oscillators, spin lattices, and networks of electrical self-oscillators. In all of these systems, nonlinearity and lattice/network geometry play important roles, as they enable and guide processes of patterns formation. Broadly speaking, the aim is to experimentally characterize emergent patterns, study their onset and boundaries in parameter space, and to formulate mathematical models which allow a numerical and/or analytical exploration. Ideas from the field of dynamical systems (such as fixed points, stability, bifurcation, hysteresis, chaos) are essential in this endeavor. Other interests include the Calculus of Variations, magnetism and spin resonance, microwave spectroscopy, medical imagining techniques, and issues within the philosophy of science.


  • B.S., Denison University, 1996
  • M.S., Cornell University, 1999
  • Ph.D., 2003

2021-2022 Academic Year

Fall 2021

PHYS 311 Dynamics & Chaos
An advanced treatment of classical mechanics using vector calculus and the calculus of variations, as well as an introduction to the analysis of chaotic systems. Topics will include: the dynamics of systems of particles and conservation laws; linear and nonlinear oscillators; iterative maps and the route to chaos; central force motion; rigid body motion; non-inertial reference frames and fictitious forces; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of dynamics. The course will also focus heavily on analytical and problem-solving techniques. Prerequisite: 211 and 282 or permission of the instructor.

PHYS 491 Advanced Laboratory Capstone I
In this capstone experience, students will work in groups to study several advanced physics topics in detail. Potential topics include muon decay, microwave diffraction, the speed of light, pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance, and the Hall effect. The course emphasizes collaborative research, investigative techniques, oral and written communication. Prerequisite: Physics major senior status. The physics major requires either the two-semester sequence of 491 & 492 OR two semesters of PHYS 550.

PHYS 550 Independent Research