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Fellows Directory

Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan

Professor Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan FRS


Elected: 2016


L Mahadevan was born in India, and was educated there through college, before moving to the USA, eventually getting his PhD at Stanford University. He started his independent career at MIT, and was then the inaugural Schlumberger Chair in Complex Physical Systems at Cambridge University and a Professorial Fellow at Trinity, before coming to Harvard University, where he has been since 2003.

His work attempts to understand the geometrical and dynamical patterns of shape and flow in physical and biological matter, particularly at the observable scale of “middle earth”. He has co-authored more than 200 publications on diverse subjects such as the mechanics of filaments and membranes, the physics of soft materials, the dynamics of fluids, the morphogenesis of cells and organs, the movements of plants and animals, and the physiology and behaviour of social insects. 

His work has been recognized by awards that include the Edgerton Prize at MIT (2000), the Ledlie Prize at Harvard (2006),  the Chaire Condorcet at the ENS-Paris (2001), a Visiting Miller Professorship at UC-Berkeley (2007),  as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (2006-07), the MacArthur Foundation (2009-14), and the Radcliffe Institute (2014-15).

Professional positions

de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, School Of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Professor of Physics and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Interests and expertise