I have worked in the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, Sweden, and New Zealand, and have published more than 300 papers. This includes 11 papers in Nature and 3 in Science. In addition to my career in science, I am a trained painter and photographer. I adopt an interdisciplinary approach to studying natural patterns called fractals. Bioinspiration is my main focus – exploring the favorable properties that make fractals so prevalent in nature and applying them to artificial systems. I have studied fractals in physics, psychology, physiology, geography, architecture and art.
I use my interests in fractals to encourage collaborations between the arts and sciences and to promote public awareness of science. For example, my work has been featured in TV documentaries, including The Art of Science (ABC, 1998), Hunting the Hidden Dimension (PBS, 2008) and The Code (BBC, 2011) and has been the subject of popular press articles (e.g. in The New York Times and The London Times), magazine articles (e.g. in Scientific American, Time, The New Yorker, New Scientist and Discover) and ten popular science books. I also regularly give lectures around the world, invited by organizations as diverse as the Nobel Foundation, the White House, the Royal Society and national art galleries such as the Pompidou Centre and the Guggenheim Museum.
I have taught over 10,000 students and have been honored with the following teaching awards: “Outstanding Teacher in Higher Education Award” by the Oregon Academy of Sciences, a Williams Fellowship for Innovative Teaching, the Thomas Herman Distinguished Teaching Award, and a Cottrell Scholarship for Outstanding Teacher-Scholars. I have authored (e.g. “Light, Color and Vision”) and edited (e.g. “Physics – Principles and Application”) undergraduate textbooks and received a number of educational grants.
I am currently head of the Physics Department at the UO, which comprises 41 faculty and is rated in the top 20 R1 public universities in the US. I am also a member of the Materials Science Institute (MSI) and was its director from 2010-2018. The MSI comprises 35 faculty and has an annual grant income of ~ $10M. I am also director of Fractals Research LLC and head of the Fractals Research Laboratory at the UO.