Professor Jane Wang awarded a Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics

Jane Wang

Jane Wang, Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Physics, has been awarded a Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics.

The Simons Fellows program extends academic leaves from one term to a full year, enabling recipients to focus solely on research for the long periods often necessary for significant advances. The fellowship is funded by the Simons Foundation – which exists to support discovery-driven scientific research undertaken in the pursuit of understanding the phenomena of the world.

Professor Wang’s research centers on the physics of living organisms, with a special focus on understanding insect flight. According to Wang, she and her research group have been seeking mechanistic explanations of the complex movement of insect flight.

“Starting from the Navier-Stokes equations governing the unsteady aerodynamics of flapping flight, we worked to build a theoretical framework for interpreting and predicting the functions of an insect’s internal machinery for flight. In this approach, the physics of flight informs us about the internal computing scheme for a specific behavior.”

Her group’s most recent work is to make connections to the developments in neural science. They build physical models for quantitative analyses of flight reflexes, and relate their finding to the underlying neural feedback circuitries.

Wang has won many notable awards during her career including the NSF Early Career Award and the ONR Young Investigator Award given by the Office of Naval Research, and the Packard Fellowship.  The Simons fellowship will support her work on neural feedback control in insects, and applications in robotics insects.

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