Kenneth Morgan Golden
Kenneth M. Golden is a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Utah. His scientific interests lie in sea ice, climate, composite materials, percolation theory, statistical physics, diffusion processes, and inverse problems. He has published papers in journals in mathematics, physics, geophysics, oceanography, ecology, remote sensing, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biomechanics, and given over 400 invited lectures on six continents, including three presentations in the US Congress.
Research. Ken Golden is an applied mathematician who works on modeling and simulating complex multiscale systems that arise in geophysics and materials science. He is particularly interested in developing models of composite materials and statistical physics to analyze sea ice properties and processes. Dr. Golden has journeyed seven times to Antarctica and eleven times to the Arctic to study sea ice and its role in the climate system. This work is helping to advance how sea ice is represented in climate models, and improve projections of the fate of Earth's ice packs and the ecosystems they support. Professor Golden conducts mathematical research on the critical behavior of transport in composites, homogenization for advection-diffusion processes, porous media, random matrix theory, wave propagation in complex media, and electromagnetic inverse problems.
Early Career. In high school Ken became fascinated by the polar regions, studying satellite images of sea ice at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. As an undergraduate he worked at the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory on using radar to measure sea ice thickness, while completing degrees in Mathematics and Physics at Dartmouth College. Dr. Golden received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the Courant Institute of NYU in 1984. Prior to moving to Utah in 1991, he was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University in mathematical physics.
Teaching and Mentoring. Since 1981 Golden has taught over 60 classes in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations to over 8,000 first and second year undergraduates in science and engineering, as well as a broad range of advanced undergraduate and graduate courses, including mathematics and climate, sea ice, partial differential equations, functional analysis and spectral theory, composite materials and homogenization, statistical mechanics, etc. He has mentored 38 undergraduate researchers at the University of Utah since 2001, from 11 majors across the Colleges of Science, Engineering, and Mines and Earth Sciences. Professor Golden has also mentored 11 Ph.D. and M.S. students, 7 posdoctoral fellows, as well as 9 high school students. Many of Golden's students and postdocs have assisted in field experiments on sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Honors and Media Coverage. In 2011 Professor Golden was selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics for "extraordinary interdisciplinary work on the mathematics of sea ice," and in 2013 he was an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. In 2014 Golden was elected a Fellow of the Explorers Club, whose members have included Robert Peary, Sir Edmund Hillary, Neil Armstrong, and Jane Goodall. Professor Golden received the University of Utah's highest award for research in 2012 and for teaching in 2007. In 2012 he was also the recipient of the Myriad Award in the College of Science recognizing his work in fostering undergraduate research. In 1989 Golden received a teaching award from the Princeton Engineering Council. In 1996 Golden was selected to become a member of the Electromagnetics Academy, for "significant contributions to the field of electromagnetics." His polar expeditions and mathematical work have been covered in over 50 newspaper, magazine, and web articles, including profiles in Science, Science News, Scientific American and Physics Today. He has also been interviewed numerous times on radio and television, and featured in videos produced by the National Science Foundation and NBC News.
Photo courtesy of Tony Worby.