PhD positions

Applications are invited for PhD positions in the Department of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University in the broad area of applied mathematics. The applied mathematics group at SFU is one of the largest and most vibrant in Canada. The Pacific Northwest has a high concentration of expertise in numerical analysis and scientific computing, which provides many opportunities for collaboration.
  • Projects in the design and analysis of structure-preserving discretizations:
  • The student will work on problems arising in spectral geometry, especially isoperimetric inequalities for elliptic operators. Our approach is motivated by the insights gained from numerical analysis of structure-preserving algorithms.
  • Projects in biological modeling and numerical analysis:
  • The student will join an existing team working on the modeling and simulation of bone physiology at the cellular level. The team is multi-university and genuinely interdisciplinary, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with biologists and mathematicians. The project comprises theoretical and computational aspects with the ultimate goal of improving grafting technologies, and understanding bone pathologies such as cancers and osteoporosis. We are particularly interested in candidates with a background in PDE, mechanics, numerical analysis and scientific computing. However, strong candidates who are motivated to learn are encouraged to apply.
  • Other possibilities
  • There are several other project opportunities, and a visit to the Department can be arranged.
  • Why apply?
  • Candidates will be part of an intellectually stimulating, friendly and supportive atmosphere at SFU. The PhD positions are fully funded, and there are no citizenship constraints. All candidates with a strong mathematical background are encouraged to apply. For more details, please contact faculty in the Dept. of Mathematics at SFU.

    The fine print

    I believe that applied mathematics is the right discipline for you if you are deeply interested in mathematics, but are also curious about the natural world. You have to be prepared to learn a LOT of new things. If you're adept in mathematics, you'll need to learn about the deeper issues in your preferred area of application. If you're well-versed in physics/chemistry/biology/engineering, you'll have to learn a lot of mathematics. There are many views of the optimal training for a graduate student. My personal views are:
  • take as many courses as you possibly can.
  • retain a very open mind to all fields of mathematics, and if possible, learn at least a little about them. you never know what you'll need.
  • start reading background literature on your research topic early. don't be a passive reader.
  • get ready to feel ignorant a lot of the time.
  • indulge your curiosities, but channel your efforts.
  • be a Renaissance thinker. no question too simple, no topic too off-beat. you're at a university, so soak yourself in the atmosphere. Trust me, it's very different outside the Tower.
  • beyond a certain point, you have to be self-motivated and able to manage your time. there won't be structured homeworks or tasks - a PhD has a big element of creativity and originality. this is hard at first.