Distinguished physicist Jayanth R. Banavar, will begin his new role at the University of Oregon as the provost and senior vice president on July 1. Banavar will come to the UO from the University of Maryland where he is dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Science.
Prior to his dean appointment in 2011, Banavar led the Department of Physics at Pennsylvania State University for 12 years. Much of his recent work has applied the techniques of statistical physics to solve interdisciplinary problems, explaining, for example, why biological molecules tend to curl up into helices, or to explain why coral reefs support such a rich biodiversity. Frequently, the goal has been to identify an underlying mathematical principle to provide an elegant explanation of natural phenomena.
Prior to joining Maryland, Banavar served as Distinguished Professor and George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head of Physics at Pennsylvania State University. He received a bachelor of science with honors and a master of science in physics from Bangalore University. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh. A fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has more than 250 publications in refereed journals, 11 book chapters, a book he co-edited and three patents.