Christopher M. Danforth '06

Position: Assistant Professor, University of Vermont
Thesis: Making Forecasts for Chaotic Processes in the Presence of Model Error
Advisor: James A. Yorke, Eugenia Kalnay



What is your current position? What do you enjoy about it?

I've been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, since I got my PhD from UMD in 2006. I teach classes in Linear Algebra, Numerical Analysis, and Chaos, among other subjects in applied mathematics. I do research on mathematical modeling of the Earth's atmosphere, with a focus on weather and climate prediction. More recently I've been involved in developing methods to measure population-level happiness using social networks.

The best part of my job is working with students; undergrad, grad, and postdocs, to pose interesting problems.

(personal webpage)

What are your favorite memories of your graduate school experience?
I remember enjoying the environment of intellectual energy of the campus. UMD is a vibrant community of scholars at the forefront of science, an inspiring place to learn. One of my favorite moments was when our department's intramural flag football team won the graduate/faculty/staff league, I believe it was during the fall of 2005.

I also have very fond memories of the peanut stew served at the co-op. Two pounds of that stuff at lunch time, and I was ready to code for the remainder of the day!

graduate school friends

What do you think the best parts of AMSC are?
The interdisciplinary nature of the program attracted me to AMSC initially. The flexibility of the requirements allowed me to explore a number of fields before deciding where to focus. I also benefited from having two advisors, Jim Yorke in Math and Eugenia Kalnay in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

May 2006 graduation

What advice would you give to current students?
Try to go to as many talks as you can, and ask lots of questions. Spend time with graduate students from other departments. Become involved in more than one research project. Take advantage of the research labs nearby. NIH, NASA, NSA, NIST, and NOAA are all within 30 minutes of campus.

Story posted 10/29/10