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Mathematics Group

James Sethian

James A. Sethian
Mathematics Dept. Head; CAMERA Director; Mathematics Group Lead
Senior Faculty Scientist
Phone: +1 510 486 6006
Fax: +1 510 486 6199

James Sethian is a professor of mathematics at UC Berkeley, as well as a Berkeley Lab Senior Faculty Scientist, Mathematics Department Head, Group Lead of the Mathematics Group, and Director of the CAMERA Center. He received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from UC Berkeley in 1982. Sethian continued his research with an NSF postdoc fellowship at the Courant Institute of Mathematics, and then returned to Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1985. He now holds the James H. Simons Chair in Mathematics at UC Berkeley.

Sethian is the author of many scientific articles and books and serves as an associate editor on several journals. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science and is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. His awards include the Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics, which is awarded jointly by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), for his representations of the motion of curves, surfaces, interfaces, and wave fronts, and for his applications of mathematical and computational ideas to scientific problems. He was also awarded the 2011 Pioneer Prize, which is awarded by the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) for his contributions to applications in imaging and shape recovery in medicine, geophysics, tomography, and drop dynamics in inkjets. Other awards include the 2011 Cozzarelli Prize (joint with co-author Robert Saye) from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Sethian works on the theory, algorithms, and applications of moving interfaces as they are applied to problems in fluid mechanics, materials science, and industrial processes, such as inkjet printing, semiconductor fabrication, biological and medical imaging, and geophysics.

Selected Publications

  • Robert I. Saye, James A. Sethian, Brandon Petrouskie, Aaron Zatorsky, Xinyu Lu, and Reza Rock, Insights from high-fidelity modeling of industrial rotary bell atomization, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2023).
  • R. I. Saye and J. A. Sethian, Multiscale modelling of evolving foams, Journal of Computational Physics, 315, 273–301 (2016). doi:10.1016/