Distinguished University Professor Ed Ott retired in December, having served on the UMD faculty for a remarkable and stellar 43 years. Ott is globally known for his pioneering contributions in nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory.
"Ed has had a magnificient career, exploring and explaining chaos and helping researchers to understand its impact across disciplines," said Physics chair Steve Rolston.
In recent years, Ott was instrumental in sparking intense activity in applying machine learning to nonlinear dynamics, giving keynote lectures and invited talks in several countries. For the AIP journal Chaos he was asked to co-edit a special 2020 issue: When machine learning meets complex systems: Networks, chaos, and nonlinear dynamics.
Ott, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is a University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor and holder of the Yuen Sang and Yu Yuen Kit So Endowed Professorship in nonlinear dynamics. He received the 2014 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society, and in 2016, with Celso Grebogi and James A. Yorke, was named a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate in physics for "...development of a control theory of chaotic systems."
In 2017, Ott received the Lewis Fry Richardson Medal of the European Geosciences Union for pioneering contributions in the theory of chaos. Also in 2017, he was selected for the Jürgen Moser Lecture and Award, of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics "... for his extensive and influential contributions to nonlinear dynamics, including seminal work on chaos theory and on the dynamics of physical systems." He was elected a foreign member of the Academia Europaea for his outstanding achievements and international scholarship as a researcher.
Ott is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has served as an editor or editorial board member for most renowned journals in his field, including Physica D, Physical Review Letters, Physics of Fluids, Physical Review, Chaos and Dynamics and Stability of Systems.
Ott received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at The Cooper Union and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrophysics from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, then enjoyed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics of Cambridge University. Upon his return to the U.S., he joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Cornell. He left Ithaca in 1979 to join the Department of Physics and Department of Electrical Engineering on this campus. He is a member of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP), and has held appointments at the Naval Research Lab and what is now the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In addition to more than 500 papers, Ott has written the book "Chaos in Dynamical Systems", and edited "Coping with Chaos," a collection of reprints that focuses on how scientists observe, quantify, and control chaos. He has advised more than 50 doctoral students, starting with Distinguished University Professor Tom Antonsen at Cornell University (1977) and most recently including Amitava Banerjee (2022).