skip to main content

In APS News : Physicists Rise to the COVID-19 Challenge


Photo: Professor Nigel Goldenfeld (left), Professor Sergei Maslov (right)

Two University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign physicists are working to mitigate the spread of corona virus disease 2019  (COVID-19) in Illinois. Their epidemic models have already spared countless lives and prevented hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. These impromptu volunteer efforts by Swanlund Professor of Physics Nigel Goldenfeld and Professor of Bioengineering and Physics Sergei Maslov are outlined in this APS article. Thanks to Goldenfeld and Maslov's epidemic modeling, the U. of I. was able to plan its shift of all courses to remote instruction, even before the state's shelter-at-home order was in place; and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker was able to base his COVID-19 mitigation plan, including a statewide stay-at-home order and extension of that order, on sound scientific evidence.

The physicists recognize these efforts wouldn't have happened without the invaluable contributions made by:

George Wong, a Ph.D. candidate working for Professor Charles Gammie on research related to the Event Horizon Telescope that observed the first image of a black hole in 2019.
Zach Weiner,  a Ph.D. candidate working for Professor Peter Adshead on research related cosmology.
Ahmed Elbanna, an assistant professor of Civil Engineering, who researches complex systems and materials. Professor Elbanna will be the Donald Biggar Willet Faculty Fellow in August 2020.
Alexei Tkachenko, is a staff scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory who carries out theoretical research in the field of Soft Condensed Matter, with a special focus on programmable self-assembly and biologically-inspired nanotechnology.

Read the full article.