Theoretical Physics

close-up photo of mustard seeds.

Seeking students to work with Prof Surajit Sen on fundamental and applied problems in nonlinear and statistical physics, study of conflicts and battles, social systems and other topics to be crafted based on overlap of interest.

Project description

Professor Surajit Sen has broad interests that span fundamental and applied problems in nonlinear and statistical physics, study of conflicts and battles, social systems, etc. He came to UB in 1993. He taught freshman level classes every spring until 2020 and now teaches largely graduate level courses. He has published some 175+ refereed papers, has a patent on acoustic detection of landmines, and has edited 5 refereed volumes. He has given nearly 200 invited talks in universities, national labs and conferences worldwide. His accomplishments have been recognized by his election as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2008) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012). Dr Sen has served as a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow in India in 2017-18 and as a Jefferson Science Fellow of the US National Academies in 2020-21. During this period he was a Senior Science Advisor at the US Agency for International Development in Washington, DC.  He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Bioscience and Bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur in 2023. He is also deeply interested in ways to effectively teach physics to the uninitiated and has written refereed papers on the topic

Professor Sen enjoys working with students at all levels. He has mentored some 20+ PhD students, and 3 MS students. He currently advises 1 PhD student. He has mentored some 35+ undergrads over the years. Some of these students have gone on to become professors at MIT, Stanford, etc. One requirement for working in Professor Sen's group is to know some computing and some basic physics. Freshman, unless exceptionally well prepared, are typically not quite ready for much of the work done in the group.

His current interests focus on the dynamical behavior of strongly nonlinear systems. Granular systems (eg., a bunch of solid spheres, sand and soil, sesame or mustard seeds, even nanoparticles, etc) and various solid and mushy systems remain the focus of his interests. His group uses mostly simulation based studies. Some works are based on analytical theory as well (this is usually not possible for most systems). He also has some new found interests in modeling the behavior of animal societies, including human beings, election processes, studying sustainable cities, and desert ecosystems. 

Research Project Information:
Projects are crafted based on overlap of interest and how doable the problems are.

Project outcome

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment To be determined by student/mentor
Start time Fall, Spring, Summer
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration To be determined by student/mentor
Benefits Variable
Who is eligible All students
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Surajit Sen



325 Fronczak Hall

Phone: (716) 645-6151


Start the project

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Preparation activities

The specific preparation activities for this project will be customized through discussions between you and your project mentor. Please be sure to ask them for the instructions to complete the required preparation activities.