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Chris Danforth Appointed to the UVM Flint Professorship of Mathematics

Dr. Chris Danforth, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has been appointed to the Flint Professorship in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont.

The Flint Professorship was established in 1885 by Edwin Flint who named UVM as a benefactor of his estate. The appointment was to go to a distinguished professor in the fields of “Mathematics, Natural or Technic Science.”

“It is a great pleasure to see Chris recognized for his contributions to the college, “said Dean Luis Garcia, who further commented, “He is a great representative of the energy and creativity that our faculty brings every day, and I am thrilled that our students benefit from his talents.”

Danforth’s research focuses on the interface between big data and mathematical models. His scholarly contributions are broad. He has published in the fields of Atmospheric Science, Applied Mathematics, Astronomy, Biology, Complex Systems, Computer Science, Ecology, Engineering, Linguistics, Nonlinear Dynamics, Physics, and Psychology. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve the algorithms used to make weather forecasts, and developed a new instrument for measuring population level happiness in real-time using social media, the hedonometer.

Danforth, along with colleague Peter Dodds, co-directs the Computational Story Lab, a group of applied mathematicians at the Undergraduate, Masters, PhD, and Postdoctoral rank working on large-scale, system-level problems in a wide variety of disciplines. The lab’s research has been featured by the New York Times, Science Magazine, NBC’s Today Show, and the BBC among others.

Additionally, Danforth is the Associate Director of the Vermont Complex Systems Center, and is a member of the NSF funded Mathematics & Climate Research Network, a virtual department of climate mathematics.

“I feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to engage in the research process with bright, creative students and colleagues, developing new approaches for describing and understanding the physical and social universe” says Danforth. “This is a team effort.”

Danforth joined UVM after receiving a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation from the University of Maryland in 2006. He received a BS with honors in Mathematics and Physics from Bates College in 2001, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Sigma Xi.

Danforth will hold the Chair until the end of academic year 2017-2018. During his tenure as the Flint Professor, he’ll receive a stipend to support his graduate program. The Chair was most recently held by Professor Emeritus Robert Jenkins, former Dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.