Gregory Eyink, a professor of applied mathematics and statistics, focuses mainly on the phenomenon of turbulence in fluids and plasmas. He holds joint appointments in the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering.
Eyink’s research interests include mathematical physics, fluid mechanics, turbulence, dynamical systems, partial differential equations, non-equilibrium statistical physics, geophysics and climate, astrophysics, and plasma physics. In addition to research on turbulence, he has contributed to the renormalization group in quantum field theory, to statistical physics (thermal fluctuations and variational principles in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics), to data assimilation in geophysics, and to magnetic reconnection in astrophysics and space physics.
One of Eyink’s most influential works was a 1994 paper that provided the first published proof of a claim on fluid singularities made by Lars Onsager decades earlier and that gave the modern formulation of what is now called the “Onsager conjecture.” Eyink continues to work in this direction, publishing in 2018 a series of three papers in Physical Review X extending Onsager’s exact analysis to turbulence incompressible fluids, relativistic fluids and kinetic plasmas. In addition, a 2011 study by Eyink in the journal Physical Review E presented the first numerical evidence for the predicted phenomenon of “spontaneous stochasticity,” according to which two beads dropped into identical locations in the same turbulent flow will end up in different locations. A 2013 study that he co-authored in Nature found that the flux-freezing theorem for ideal plasmas is violated by this turbulence effect, allowing rapid changes of magnetic field-line topology during explosive events such as solar flares.
Current projects include studies of phase-space entropy cascade using spacecraft data on turbulent plasma in the terrestrial magnetosheath and stochastic Lagrangian dynamics of vorticity in wall-bounded turbulent flows.
Eyink is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics. He is an advisory board member and former editor-in-chief for the Journal of Turbulence. In 2005 and 2006, Eyink was the Stanislaw Ulam Visiting Scholar at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Eyink received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy from Ohio State University in 1981 and a Ph. in physics from OSU in 1987. He then completed postdoctoral studies at Rutgers University and worked as a visiting research assistant professor in the Departments of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Eyink was a professor in the Departments of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Arizona before joining the Whiting School of Engineering faculty in 2003.