McLaughlin, Richard M
Phillips Hall 320
Research InterestsExperimental, theoretical, and computational fluid dynamics, random phenomena, and stochastic partial differential equations
Professional backgroundB.S Mathematics, the University of Arizona 1989
PhD Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University, 1994
Wylie Instructor/NSF Postdoc, University of Utah, 1994-1996
Assistant Professor, University of Utah 1996-1998
Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, 1998-2004
Full Professor, UNC, 2004-present
Chair of Mathematics, 2013-present
My own work is in fundamental fluid dynamics. I use a blend of asymptotic and stochastic analysis, Monte-Carlo simulation, and experimental methods to uncover interesting fluid phenomena. Roberto Camassa and I built a large-scale modern facility for exploring fundamental fluid dynamics, hosting a 120 foot long modular wave-tank, a tilting wind tunnel, a salt water processing center, as well a huge array of instruments for making scientific measurements. Mathematics manages the facility which we share it with faculty in Marine Sciences, and have joint students and postdocs working in the lab from math, physics, marine sciences, environmental science, computer science, and biology.
Our scientific philosophy is to probe and unearth intriguing fluid phenomena and in turn to develop predictive, first principled, mathematical theory to explain that phenomena. We’ve been fortunate to have made a number of exciting discoveries through this effort, including levitation phenomena in settling particulates in stratified fluids, critical phenomena for the escape/trapping of fluid jets, blocking phenomena in shear flows past fixed bodies, paths of least time in potential flow, discovering how geometry can be used to control asymmetries in solute delivery, and most recently a truly novel self-assembly mechanism by which particles suspended within a stratified fluid attract seemingly to solve jig-saw like puzzles on its way to forming a large scale aggregate disc (this work appeared in Dec 2019 at Nature Communications, where it made its list of the top 50 most read physics papers of 2019).
Enhanced Diffusivity and Skewness of a Diffusing Tracer in the Presence of an Oscillating Wall
Lingyun Ding, Robert Hunt, Richard M. McLaughlin, and Hunter Woodie,
Research in the Mathematical Sciences, L. Ding et al. Res Math Sci, 2021, 8:34, 2021
Persisting Asymmetry in the Probability Distribution Function for a Random Advection–Diffusion Equation in Impermeable Channels
Roberto Camassa, Lingyun Ding, Zeliha Kilic, Richard M. McLaughlin,
Physica D, R. Camassa, L. Ding, Z. Kilic et al., Physica D 425, 2021, 132930, 2021
A First-Principle Mechanism for Particulate Aggregation and Self-Assembly in Stratified Fluids
R .Camassa, D. Harris, R. Hunt, Z. Kilic, and R. M. McLaughlin,
Nature Communications, 10, 5804, 2019
How Boundaries Shape Chemical Delivery in Microfluidics
M. Aminian, F. Bernardi, R. Camassa, R Harris, and R. M. McLaughlin,
Science, 354, 6317, 1252-1256, 2016
Squaring the Circle: Geometric Skewness and Symmetry Breaking for Passive Scalar Transport in Ducts and Pipes
M. Aminian, F. Bernardi, R. Camassa, and R. M. McLaughlin,
Physical Review Letters, 115, 154503, 2015
Fluids Lab Attract Research Partners
Roberto Camassa’s research is very fluid. The Kenan Distinguished Professor...
Nepal Round Three
What do you do when a gastrointestinal illness takes out half of your research team that traveled nearly 8,000 miles to Nepal to study the effects of climate change on Buddhist holy lakes? You press on.