Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L's David Sukow to Lecture on Coping with Chaos in his Inaugural Telford Professorship Lecture

David W. Sukow, professor of physics and engineering at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture marking his appointment as the Robert Lee Telford Professor of Physics and Engineering on March 31, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Coping with Chaos: When Simple Systems Show Complex Behavior.”

“Simple physical systems can display surprisingly complicated behavior that is best described in the language of nonlinear dynamics and chaos,” said Sukow. He will discuss some of the optical and electronic systems displaying such dynamics that have been studied in the laboratory. The common characteristic among these systems is their use of time-delayed feedback to create – and control – their behavior.

In addition to describing these systems and their dynamics, Sukow will discuss “how we can cope with their complexity by devising elegant methods to control it, or even to make use of it through synchronization and random number generation.”

Sukow joined the faculty of Washington and Lee in 1999. He earned his B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from Duke University. After completing his Ph.D, Sukow spent two years completing a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Nonlinear Optics Group, Air Force Research Laboratory.

Sukow is the author and co-author of 20 journal articles, including “Fast Random Bit Generation Using a Chaotic Laser: Approaching the Information Theoretic Limit” in “IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics” (2013); and “Square-wave Switching in Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers with Polarization Rotated Optical Feedback: Experiments and Simulations” in “Physical Review” (2012).

He has received six grants to support his research. Most recently, he was awarded the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC, the Spanish Research Council), to be a guest professor at the Institut de Fisica Interdisciplinar i Sistemas Complejos, Universitat de les Illes Balears, in Spain.

Sukow has presented at and chaired panel discussions at over 30 conferences, notably the European Quantum Electronics Conference in Germany (May 2013) and the Laser Science CCVIII in New York (October 2012).

He has been a manuscript referee for journals such as “Physical Review Letters,” “Journal of Advanced Research in Dynamical and Control Systems” and “Optics Letters.” He has also served as a panel reviewer for the National Science Foundation.