Dr. Hernan Makse’s APS citation reads:
“For his contributions to a broad range of topics in non-equilibrium systems ranging from urban dynamics and complex networks to statistical mechanics of jammed matter, in particular, the elucidation of the random close packing state of granular matter.”
The overarching theme of Dr. Makse’s research is the theoretical understanding of complexity. Dr. Makse’s original area of interest is the study of jammed matter, spanning from granular materials, colloidal suspensions, dense emulsions to glasses, in search of unifying theoretical frameworks. Under his 2003 NSF CAREER award, he studied statistical mechanics of particulate systems far from equilibrium. He is, however, continually coming up with new applications for the laws of physical systems, and by 2005, he was studying the dynamics of social networks under NSF auspices. Dr. Makse continues his ground-breaking work on granular matter, and, increasingly, he is applying the principles of statistical mechanics to the organization of complex networks from biological systems, to urban economics and social networks. This interdisciplinary work is at the interface of physics and disciplines such as neuroscience, biology and sociology. In recent papers he has addressed the function and evolution of protein networks, the environmental factors which may affect the spread of obesity, what makes the best spreaders of information in a social network, and a new way to define cities based on clustering algorithms from percolation theory. Dr. Makse travels the world in search of collaborators willing to take the same intellectual risks he does, and his lab at CCNY’s Benjamin Levich Institute is home to graduate students from China, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy and the like.