Z. Jane Wang

Professor of Physics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

jane dot wang at cornell.edu | (607) 255-5354 | 323 Thurston Hall | 517 Clark Hall

Cornell Graduate Fields: Physics, Applied Mathematics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Computational Science and Engineering, Computational Biology, Applied and Enigineering Physics

Much of my work is driven by a desire to see and conceptualize the world around us. I strive to find sharp and intuitive answers to the inter-connected puzzles in complex living systems.

A long term scientific endeavor is to construct physical and mathematical methods and analyses to understand complex biological behavior, informed by experiments. Our Current work centers on investigating how the physics of flight shapes the evolution of insects' neural control algorithms. The first is the analyses of flight of genetically modified flies. This is in part motivated to test our recent prediction on fly's stability, and more generally, to develop new methods for analyzing free flight with different neural feedback circuitries. The second is to analyze passive flight to gain insight into efficient flight. The third is to build new behavioral experiments and analyses of dragonfly's righting behavior so to understand their sense of orientation in space, as a means to study the connection between the physics of flight and the evolved maneuvering strategies. Collectively these works will shed light on the design of nature's flyers and also offer new methods for abstracting key principles in animal locomotion through experiments together with suggestive, predictive, and explanatory models, ultimately contributing to our understanding of 'what is life?'.