Physicist William Irvine receives Packard Fellowship

William Irvine, assistant professor in physics, is among 16 researchers selected nationally to receive a 2012 David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Irvine will receive an unrestricted grant of $875,000 over five years.


Irvine was selected from a field of 98 researchers nominated by presidents of 50 universities that participate in the Packard Fellowship program.

Irvine will use his grant to support his research on knotted fields, in which he seeks to unravel the role of topological quantities, such as knottedness, in physical systems including complex and turbulent flows. He is performing experiments on knotted vortex filaments, akin to smoke rings tied into knots. Irvine also is studying the mathematical structure of knots in light fields that will then be created and coupled to matter.

The Packard Fellowship program was established in 1988 to allow the nation’s most promising professors to pursue science and engineering research early in their careers with few funding restrictions and limited reporting requirements.