Institute for Applied Mathematics,
University of British Columbia
M L R T L M at math dot ubc dot ca
Leonard S. Klinck (LSK) 311E
Hi! My name is Mike. Thanks for visiting my UBC Math page. Here's what you can find on this page:
I'm a grad student in the Institute for Applied Mathematics, currently toiling away at a PhD :-)
My academic time is divided between research meetings (which often degenerate into amusing conversations), courses (usually math, physics, or computer science), napping on the couch (an essential element to any office), and of course actually doing research! My supervisor is Brian Wetton, who also supervises Iain Moyles and Mark Willoughby.
I've always enjoyed the applications of math more than the theories, although theory can be both useful and beautiful. I'm currently working on three projects (actual explanations/details are given in the research portion of this page):
These projects combine many fascinating mathematical fields including ordinary and partial differential equations, asymptotic analysis (analytic approximation schemes), and numerical analysis (studying how the problems can be coded and accurately solved with a computer). At the end of the day, though, being able to say something about the real world is what motivates me most (although the math is super cool!!!).
- modelling a nuclear fusion reaction to help physicists and engineers at General Fusion test their designs for harvesting nuclear energy;
- examining how surface geometries of superconductors affect the magnetic field penetration, when in the Meissner state - part-time work for Rob Kiefl at TRIUMF; and
- looking into the epidemiological impact of a newly engineered transgenic fungus in fighting malaria, a collaboration with Bernhard Konrad and Jielin Zhu.
I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba—the mosquito capital of Canada... also famous for the fantastically cold winters, which I am pleasantly reminded of each year when I go back to see family and friends over the break. I came out to Vancouver for my undergraduate studies, and I have since become very fond of BC. The rain doesn't bother me so much—I guess I prefer it to having my eyelashes frozen together during a Manitoba winter...
There are so many amazing parks and hiking trails near Vancouver, and I really enjoy exploring them. Some other interests include classical music (Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Bach, Handel, traditional Sufi and Andean music, etc.), languages (French and Mandarin), cats (they are such amazing creatures), baking (brownies/cookies/cinnamon buns,...), and meditation (I have been teaching various forms of meditation and related mystical practices for a number of years as a volunteer).
I'm also a fan of Piled Higher and Deeper comics (perfect depictions of grad student life!).
My teaching positions are below.
I tutored with the AMS for 3 years and I have done private tutoring since grade 7. Contact me if you'd like private tutoring (I may or may not be available depending on the time of year and my schedule). Note: I obviously will not privately tutor anyone in a course I'm teaching (and generally, though not always, this also applies to courses I am marking for) due to a conflict of interest.
UBC Math Courses I Have Tutored:
- Math 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 110, 152, 180, 184
- Math 200, 215, 220, 221
- Math 317, 400
This term, I have run some review sessions for Math 105. Problems are available here.
Research Experience and Interests
Papers, Proceedings, Theses, etc.
- Superconductors: It's well known that superconductors expel magnetic fields, through the generation of shielding supercurrents (this is why magnets can be levitated by a superconductor), and that within an ideal type 1 superconductor the magnetic field strength decays exponentially... but it turns out this well-known fact is actually not true, as muSR experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute have shown! I've been investigating if imperfections on the surface of a superconductor cause the non-exponential field decay.
- Fuel Cells: These are promising clean energy sources for the future, but a lot needs to be modelled and understood to make them efficient. A critical element is gas diffusion. Among modelers, there are two commonly used sets of diffusion equations (Fick's Law and Maxwell-Stefan), with drastically different levels of complexity. Maxwell-Stefan is believed to be more accurate but it's very hard to work with. In a simple model I looked into, how the two models differ, and if they necessarily give appreciably different quantitative results.
- Nuclear Fusion: A modern design for generating nuclear fusion entails imploding a sphere of liquid lead, with a central cylindrical axis filled with a plasma beam (as seen on the right). There's a lot that governs this process: an immense pressure is needed for the compression, which is opposed by the internal pressure of the entire system as it compresses; the local movement of liquid lead, its pressure, and density affect not only the implosion but also the physical properties of the plasma that it's coupled to. Right now as far as research goes, I am working on a basic simulation that couples the complicated systems involved.
- Malaria Management: Recently a fungus has been engineered that does minimal harm to mosquitoes, but it kills the malaria parasite they may carry. As a result, it could be used to fight malaria, without the risk of mosquito mutation (due to evolutionary pressure). Pesticides are of course another malaria-fighting technique (with obvious drawbacks). We wish to understand how effective is the fungus treatment in comparison to other tactics?
You can read my CV here (Aug 2011).
Site last updated January, 2013.