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Luiz Bevilacqua is IEA's new visiting professor

Luiz Bevilacqua - 5
Luiz Bevilacqua, professor emeritus from COPPE-UFRJ

How could one use computational modeling to apply a theory on the diffusion of matter as a reference for the analysis of biological, socioeconomic and ecological phenomena, and at the same time use this approach as a stimulus to interdisciplinary cooperation?

This task will be carried out by the new visiting professor of the IEA, engineer Luiz Bevilacqua, professor emeritus from the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of Engineering Graduation and Research of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE), and member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

He will develop his research project at the Institute for a year, beginning February 1. With his hiring, the IEA will once again count on a Brazilian visiting professor. This has been possible with a change in USP's legislation, which from 2011 to 2016 permitted the hiring of foreign researchers only.

Theoretical research

Bevilacqua's project is called "Complex processes of diffusion with applications in physical-chemical, socioeconomic and evolutionary-reactive phenomena. Motivation for the development of interdisciplinary cooperation". According to him, the proposal is based on the use of applied mathematical-computational models, "increasingly important for the simulation of certain phenomena coming mainly from the biological, socioeconomic and ecological areas, a range that demonstrates their importance for interdisciplinary convergence."

The central activity of the new visiting professor will be the deepening of the research on a new theory that he proposes for the representation of mass transport processes. Bevilacqua argues that the current theoretical models are incomplete, considering that this flow is unimodal, "however being plausible that in certain cases the process is bimodal."

The professor states that the stage reached in this theoretical research "opens great perspectives of deepening the theory and its applications in the modeling of physical and socioeconomic phenomena."

Due to these possible applications, he intends to count on the cooperation of USP's faculty and students to define and test the models in different areas of knowledge. Therefore, his proposal foresees the holding of seminars and discussions with the participation of small groups of stakeholders in each area.

The first activities will deal with three phenomena: capital flow, considering the presence of sources and sinks; population dynamics influenced by external factors; and epidemiology and infectious diseases.

Interdisciplinary cooperation

Bevilacqua will also lend his vast experience in academic management, and scientific and technological policy to stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation with the use of computational modeling. The tool for this will be the holding of seminars on:

  • the spread of epidemics (dengue, malaria, etc.), taking the flow of infected and recovered humans into account;
  • the population dynamics of endangered species;
  • the diffusion of knowledge and information conveyed by traditional media.

 

He also foresees meetings on other topics to be proposed by USP's faculty and students interested in the project.

Book

In addition to the production of works to be published in scientific and engineering journals, Bevilacqua intends to prepare the production of the book "Applied Mathematical-Computational Models", which will be edited by the IEA. The work should have about 300 pages and count on contributions from at least 10 researchers.

The first chapter will be an introduction to computational mathematical modeling and the others will deal with specific problems explored in the seminars. Whenever possible, the emphasis will be on applications that can assist the solving of concrete problems. The idea is that the work should be written in such a way as to be accessible to graduate students willing to face new challenges.

Profile

Throughout his career, Bevilacqua has carried out innumerable professional activities besides teaching and researching in the academy, having participated in several engineering projects, research institutions and the coordination of scientific and technological policies, the governance of universities, and other research institutions and scientific societies.

Bevilacqua is a civil engineer graduated from the National School of Engineering of the University of Brazil (current UFRJ), having specialized in structures by the Sttugart College of Technology and holding a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from Stanford University.

He has already been dean of the Federal University of ABC, director of the COPPE, academic vice-president of PUC-SP, secretary general of the Ministry of Science and Technology, scientific director of FAPERJ and president of the Brazilian Space Agency.

Photo: Leonor Calasans/IEA-USP