L. Mahadevan

L. Mahadevan

  • Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics
  • Core Member, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University
  • Faculty Associate, Harvard University Center for the Environment
  • Participant, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
  • Member, Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology


My work and that of my group centers around using mathematics to understand the organization of matter in space and time,  particularly at the scale observable by our unaided senses, and is thus closely tied in with experience and experiments. I prefer to be led by problems rather than being limited by tools.

In the past, I have worked on a range of problems at the intersection of mathematics and classical and statistical physics, subjects with enormous explanatory power and veins that run deep. While I maintain an interest in these subjects, more recently I have become fascinated by the possibility, remote as it still is, that it is possible to use quantitative approaches in biology, medicine and beyond. 

Members of my group come with a range of backgrounds in science and engineering and have gone on to industrial and academic positions in a range of disciplines, and include faculty in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, as well as in engineering and medical schools. 

Awards and named lectures include the Chaire Condorcet at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris (2001), the G I Taylor Lectureship of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (2001), the Alan Tayler Lectureship at Oxford University (2003), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), and a MacArthur Fellowship (2009).

Contact Information

Nickname: Maha
Office:Pierce 322
Office Phone:(617) 496-9599
Office Fax(617) 495-9837
Lab Name:The Applied Math Lab
Lab Location:258 North West Building
Lab Phone:(617) 496-8892
Assistant:Michael A Donohoe
Assistant Office:Maxwell Dworkin 247
Assistant Phone:(617) 495-0871
Research Mgr: Shweta Chhetri

Primary Teaching Area

Positions & Employment

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics
Harvard Department of Physics
  • Professor of Physics
Harvard Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
  • Professor
Harvard Medical School
  • Affiliate Professor, Department of Systems Biology
University of Oxford
  • Schlumberger Visiting Professor, Mathematical Institute
National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor



  • MacArthur Fellowship, 2009
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 2006
  • George Ledlie Prize, Harvard University, 2006
  • Alan Tayler Lecturer, Smith Institute and Oxford University, UK, 2003
  • G.I. Taylor Lecturer, Cambridge Philosophical Society, Cambridge, UK, 2001
  • Chaire Condorcet, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, 2001
  • Edgerton Award, MIT, 2000