Jonathan Gilligan

Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Associate Director for Research, Vanderbilt Climate Change Research Network

Research Interests

I work primarily at the intersection of natural science, social science, and public policy with a focus on coupled human-natural systems and on the ways in which scientific knowledge and uncertainty affect policy decisions about the environment.

My current work makes extensive use of agent-based models to simulate the ways that small changes in behavior at the individual level can add up to large-scale shifts at the level of the whole population, giving what is often referred to as “emergent phenomena.” These models have the potential to help us identify vulnerabilities to environmental stress and opportunities to promote sustainable adaptations.

My past research has included nonlinear dynamics and chaos, quantum optics, stratospheric photochemistry, electrocardiology, physical mechanisms of laser surgery, laser processing and analysis of semiconductors, laser-cooling of atomic ions, and high-precision atomic and molecular spectroscopy.

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