The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Uwe Täuber, a professor of physics in the College of Science, for his work at the most fundamental levels of materials science and in biological systems.
Täuber’s current research ranges from the dynamics of superconductors to evolution in coexisting populations of predators and prey.
With his Virginia Tech students and overseas collaborators, he seeks to understand the basic dynamic processes that affect different states of matter and living organisms. This includes the characterization of phase transitions between familiar states of matter — solid, liquid, and gas — as well as quite unusual ones, such as when cooled to extremely low temperatures, atoms seem to undergo an identity crisis and condense into superfluid or superconducting phases.
The physics of non-equilibrium many-body systems is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of theoretical physics. Traditionally used, for example, in the study of laser physics and superconducting kinetics, these techniques have more recently found applications in the study of dynamics of cold atomic gases and nanoscale systems.
Täuber was recently named a Fellow of the American Physical Society “for seminal and sustained contributions to the understanding of non-equilibrium, universal properties of reaction diffusion processes and driven diffusive systems, with applications in materials science and biological systems.”
In a recent study, Täuber applied mathematical tools from quantum and statistical field theory to calculate the effects of mutual correlations in competing predator-prey populations. This work has been featured in the on-line Insights column of the Journal of Physics: Mathematical and Theoretical.
He has coauthored more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and authored a textbook, “Critical Dynamics: A Field Theory Approach to Equilibrium and Non-Equilibrium Scaling Behavior.”
The textbook supplies a unified framework for describing and understanding complex interacting systems common in physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, and the social sciences.
In it, Täuber introduces powerful mathematical methods for dealing with complex dynamic systems encountered in thermal equilibrium, quantum systems, and non-equilibrium systems. Utilizing field-theoretic techniques and the dynamical renormalization group, the text rapidly builds up a mathematical toolbox of relevant skills.
He earned his Ph.D. at the Technical University of Munich (TU München). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and the University of Oxford before joining Virginia Tech’s physics department in early 1999.