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Viterbi Faculty Directory

Paul K. Newton

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Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics


  • Doctoral Degree, Applied Mathematics, Brown University
  • Master's Degree, Applied Mathematics, Brown University
  • Bachelor's Degree, Applied Mathematics, Harvard University


Paul Newton received his B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics/Physics at Harvard University in 1981, with a thesis written under the supervision of G.F. Carrier, and his Ph.D. in 1986 from the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University. He then moved to the Mathematics Department at Stanford University to work as a post-doctoral scholar under J.B. Keller. He became Assistant (1987) and Associate Professor (1993) in the Mathematics Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the Center for Complex Systems Research (CCSR). In 1993 he moved to the Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department at USC as Associate Professor, and was promoted to Full Professor in 1998. He is currently Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine (Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center), and the Ellison Institute at USC. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nonlinear Science, Springer-Nature Publishing and was elected AAAS Fellow in 2020. He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in the area of Applied Mathematics in 2024.

Research Summary

Newton's current research in applied mathematics follows two main themes: (i) Nonlinear low-dimensional dynamical systems models of the Euler and Navier-Stokes equations of incompressible fluid flows, with applications to atmospheric and oceanographic dynamics. He is the author of ‘The N-Vortex Problem: Analytical Techniques’ Springer-Verlag Applied Math. Sci. Series Vol. 145, 2001; (ii) Computational oncology with a focus on dynamical systems models of cancer progression and metastasis, use of information theory concepts associated with predictability of different cancer types, Markov chain models of progression, Moran cell based stochastic evolutionary game theory models of tumor growth and metastasis, the development of statistical forecasting tools for cancer progression, circulating tumor cell simulations in vascular flows, shape/morphology/constitutive models of cancer cells. He has written over 100 refereed journal articles on these and related topics over the course of his career and has held visiting appointments at Brown University, Caltech, The Scripps Research Institute, Hokkaido University, and the KITP at UC Santa Barbara.


  • 2024 The Guggenheim Foundation Guggenheim Fellow 2024
  • 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science AAAS Fellow
  • 2017 University of Southern California Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Research Award
  • 2016 National Cancer Institute Invited Lecture
  • 2016 Center for the Study of Complex Systems, U Michigan Conference on Entropy and Information Theory in the Natural Sciences Keynote Address
  • 2015 UC San Diego Scripps Green Hospital R.M. Nakamura Lecture
  • 2015 Springer-Verlag Publishing Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Nonlinear Science
  • 2015 New York Academy of Sciences Keynote Lecture
  • 2014 Virgina Tech School of Engineering Hassan Aref Memorial Lecture
  • 2014 (PIMS) University of British Columbia Distinguished Lecture in Applied Mathematics
  • 2014 Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute Grand Rounds
  • 2013 IUTAM Symposium on Vortex Dynamics: Formation, Structure and Function, Fukuoka Japan Keynote Address
  • 2013 Cold Spring Harbor Keynote Address: The Emerging Intersection Between the Physical Sciences and Oncology
  • 2011 Mellon Foundation, USC-VSOE USC VSOE Mellon Mentoring Award
  • 2011 Nonlinear Phenomena: A View from Mathematics and Physics International Conference, National Taiwan University Keynote Address
  • 2009 International Conference on Mathematics in Sport, Groningen Keynote Address
  • 2008 IUTAM Symposium on 150 Years of Vortex Dynamics, Copenhagen Keynote Address
  • 2006 IUTAM Symposium on Vortex Dynamics, Hamiltonian Mechanics and Turbulence, Moscow Plenary Address
  • 1993 University of Illinois (UIUC) Beckman Institute Research Award
  • 1993 University of Illinois (UIUC) Oakley-Kund University Wide Teaching Award
  • 1982 Brown University Brown University Academic Fellowship in Applied Mathematics
  • 1977 Harvard University John Harvard Scholar for Academic Achievement
  • Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Molecular and Computational Biology

  • OHE 430D
  • Olin Hall of Engineering
  • 3650 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 1191

Contact Information
  • (213) 740-7782
  • newton@usc.edu


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