2008 Young Investigator Award
Mason Porter was born in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1994 before heading for the greener pastures of Caltech, from which he earned a B.S. in applied mathematics in 1998. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Cornell University in 2002, with a dissertation on quantum chaos, before embarking on postdoctoral jobs at Georgia Tech (jointly in mathematics and the nonlinear physics group), the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (in their semiclassical analysis program during the spring 2003 semester), and Caltech (in the Center for the Physics of Information and the condensed matter theory group). Porter joined the University of Oxford as a faculty member in applied mathematics in October 2007 and is also a Tutorial Fellow at Somerville College in Oxford. His research interests encompass a diverse set of areas in nonlinear science and complex systems, including classical and quantum chaos, billiard systems, nonlinear waves, Bose-Einstein condensation, granular media, nonlinear optics, social networks and so on. Porter has also mentored more than 30 undergraduate research students and published several expository papers. He has coauthored a book (published in May 2007) on Caltech pranks. In his copious free time, Porter immerses himself in all sorts of games (including board games, video games and role-playing games), a few sports (mainly ping pong and frisbee), fantasy and science fiction books, movies, blogging and thinking about baseball whenever possible.