Colorado State University Names Two New Natural Sciences Posts: Associate Dean of Academics and Chair of Department of Mathematics

Note to Reporters: Photos of Gerhard Dangelmayr and Simon Tavener are available with the news release at

The College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University has promoted longtime math professor and chair Simon Tavener to associate dean of Academics.

Tavener will be replaced by Gerhard H. Dangelmayr, also a longtime professor in the Department of Mathematics. Dangelmayr assumed his new responsibilities June 1, and Tavener will begin his new appointment as associate dean of Academics in January.

"Both Dr. Tavener and Dr. Dangelmayr are exceptional scholars and experienced leaders in the college. I am pleased they have accepted these new responsibilities,” said Jan Nerger, dean of the college. “Each of them brings experience and vision that will help advance the Department of Mathematics and the College of Natural Sciences.”

Simon Tavener

Tavener joined Colorado State’s Department of Mathematics in 2000 and was named chair in 2003. Tavener grew up in New Zealand and moved to Fort Collins after one year of postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. He then spent 13 years as a postdoctoral researcher, then as an assistant and associate professor, at Penn State. Tavener obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Oxford where he has recently established multiple collaborations with researchers in computational biology.

Tavener’s current research focuses on numerical techniques for the accurate computation of multiphysics problems. With a background in engineering and physics as well as mathematics, Tavener has said he seeks ways to apply mathematics to “something tangible.”

One of Tavener’s specialties has been interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2007, he led the mathematics portion of a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create an undergraduate research program that would prepare a new generation of biologists and mathematicians capable of interdisciplinary collaboration. In 2009, he was part of a Colorado State team awarded a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to study transmission of chronic wasting disease. He is co-principal investigator on new two $500,000 awards, a collaborative research award from Idaho National Laboratory and an award from the National Science Foundation to fund undergraduate scholarships in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM disciplines.

Tavener said he hopes his new position will give him the opportunity to improve coordination in both education and research among departments within the college.

Gerhard Dangelmayr

Dangelmayr joined the Colorado State faculty in 1995 as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 1998. In 2007, he was appointed undergraduate director. Dangelmayr also has served twice as acting chair of the department.

After earning his doctoral degree at the University of Tubingen in Germany, Dangelmayr earned his Habilitation for Mathematical Physics and Information Sciences, which is a degree based on a high level of examination required by academic faculty in Germany.

Dangelmayr’s main research area is Dynamical Systems, Bifurcation Theory and Pattern Formation with applications in science and engineering.

There are numerous applications of dynamical systems in ecology and biology; most basic are models for the oscillations of rabbits and foxes in a natural resource, Dangelmayr said. The transition from heat conduction to convection is a typical example of a bifurcation and the organization of convective motion in hexagonal cells is an example of pattern formation.

Another physical example is rippled sand-dunes caused by wind, he said. Most patterns seen in biology are considered the result of a pattern formation process – for example, the stripes of a zebra, Dangelmayr said.

For more information about the College of Natural Sciences, visit For information about the Department of Mathematics, visit