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William W. Roberts, JR.

Commonwealth Professor

Telephone: (434) 924-6216

William W. Roberts, Jr. joined the School of Engineering and Applied Science in February of 1969. He is Commonwealth Professor of Engineering and Applied Science. During the five-year period 2004-2009, he served as Director of Applied Mathematics. He earned his S.B. in mathematics in 1964 and his Ph.D. in applied mathematics in 1969 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Professor Roberts is Director of the Mathematical-Computational Modeling Laboratory. His professional work spans a broad realm of phenomena observed in nature and the experimental laboratory including shock waves, nonlinear phenomena, hypersonic flows, gas-fiber transport, industrial prototype technologies, star formation, the interstellar medium, and galactic dynamics with strong focus on formulation of the scientific and engineering problems in mathematical terms and solution of the mathematical equations in the models thus formulated.

Dr. Roberts received the 1990 NCR-University Stakeholder Innovation Award for his scientific work on mathematical modeling-computer algorithm development and the 1980 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University's Office of Afro-American Affairs. He has carried out consulting work for various industrial firms and has held visiting positions at: State University of New York, Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, University of Groningen, Stockholms Observatorium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Leiden, Kitt Peak National Observatory, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, NASA Langley Research Center, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and NASA Ames Research Center.

Current Research Interests and Projects
Mathematical Computational Modeling Laboratory
Personal Information

Studies of Fibrous Assemblies: Modeling / Computer Simulation of their Compressional and Recovery Behavior (Collaborators: W. W. Roberts, N. B. Beil)
Click on the image to see the animation of the simulation.

Figure. Side view of a three-dimensional unit cube cell depicting a representative model fibrous assembly containing 50 fibers, that is undergoing compression as the top wall is depressed to 70% of its initial volume.


Click on the image to see the animation of the simulation.

Figure. Photographic time-snapshot of the three-dimensional model-predicted transport of fibers in a computer-simulated two-phase turbulent gas-fiber flow (from left to right), with electrostatic charging of the fibers that effectively pins the fibers to a grounded conveyor belt (lower right).



Studies involving the Multi-Scale Mathematical Modeling / Computer Simulation of Cancerous Tumor Invadopodia - Bridging Nano-, Micro-, and Milli- Scales (Collaborators: W. W. Roberts, G. T. Gillies, H. L. Fillmore, I. Chasiotis)
Figure. Oblique end-view perspective of a 3-dimensional model invadopodium, with a number of microtubule fibers readily apparent and distinguishable at its near end (i.e., the right end).