Members of the Rycroft Group

portrait of Chris H. Rycroft
Chris H. Rycroft
Professor of Mathematics

Chris is an applied mathematician and has been at UW Madison since summer 2022. Prior to starting at UW Madison, Chris was a professor in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2014–2022. From 2007–2013 Chris lived in Berkeley, California where he was a postdoctoral scholar and Morrey Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2007 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his bachelor's degree from the University of Cambridge in 2001.

Chris grew up in the Lake District, a rural and beautiful area in the northwest corner of England. This kindled a lifelong love of the outdoors and he has enjoyed hiking in every place that he has lived. Chris also likes astronomy, photography, science fiction, cooking, and color coordination.

Email / Google Scholar / ORCID / CV / GitHub / Flickr /
Fun fact: Co-founded the Cambridge University Jugglers' Association

Current graduate students

portrait of Xiaoxiao (Catherine) Ding
Xiaoxiao (Catherine) Ding
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Catherine is a fifth-year Ph.D. student at the Rycroft group, primarily working on utilizing numerical and data-driven techniques to study the shape programmability of composite materials, such as textiles. She is also an experienced experimentalist in materials testing and collaborates with the Bertoldi group on the experimental side. She obtained an integrated bachelor's and master’s degree in Engineering with First Class Honours from Imperial College London in 2018. Her broad research interests are in elasticity, geometry and optimization of functional materials.

Catherine was born in China and spent half of her teenage years in the UK before coming to the US. She likes traveling and picking up new languages to connect with people from other backgrounds. During her spare time not traveling, Catherine designs graphics for Harvard Science in the News and volunteers to encourage underrepresented groups to study STEM.

Email / GitHub

portrait of Michael S. Emanuel
Michael S. Emanuel
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Michael got his undergraduate math degree from Harvard in 1999 and spent 17 years working in finance before returning to graduate studies in 2018 and completing a master's of data science at Harvard IACS in 2020. He is currently researching how to learn asteroid trajectories from large data sets of telescopic detections, and will be joining a project to simulate redox flow batteries. Michael has three young children and enjoys distance running and playing bridge and piano with his kids. In his younger days he placed 90th in the 2011 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:29:52.


portrait of Danyun He
Danyun He
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Danyun is a fourth-year Ph.D. student, and she is broadly interested in reinforcement learning and mathematical modeling. Currently, she is studying navigation problems via reinforcement learning. She obtained a bachelor's degree in Mathematics at the City University of Hong Kong in 2018, before completing a master's degree in Computational Science and Engineering at Harvard IACS in 2019. Danyun enjoys cycling, hiking, solving puzzles, and playing pool.

Email / GitHub

portrait of Madelyn Leembruggen
Madelyn Leembruggen
Ph.D. student in Physics

Madelyn grew up primarily in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Astrophysics, Physics, and Mathematics. Madelyn wants to understand how microscopic (dis)order gives rise to macroscopic observables. As a graduate student, this means using discrete computational models to simulate continuous thin sheets; as an undergraduate, pursuing this interest meant studying theoretical axion particles as a dark matter candidate.

Madelyn is additionally interested in inclusive pedagogy, science outreach, and making physics a more equitable space for people from all backgrounds. Madelyn enjoys taking portraits of friends, tending her houseplants, nerding out about literally anything, and cooking Indo-Dutch feasts.

Email / Personal homepage #1 / Personal homepage #2
Fun fact: Runs a cheese-tagram account dedicated to The Beatles.

portrait of Yue Sun
Yue Sun
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Yue studies the computational methods for simulating fluid–structure interaction. Her research interests are computational fluid dynamics, numerical methods, and physics-based animation. Before studying at Harvard in 2018, she was an undergraduate at New York University Shanghai, with one major in Mathematics and two minors in Interactive Media Arts and Urban Design & Architectural Studies. She received her master's degree in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard University in 2020.

When not busy tracking bugs in C++ code, Yue likes to cook, bake, watch (animated) movies, and play Switch games.

Email / Personal homepage

Postdoctoral scholars and affiliates

portrait of Jiayin Lu
Jiayin Lu
Postdoctoral scholar in Applied Mathematics

Jiayin completed her Ph.D. in the Rycroft Group in January 2024. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar and plans to move to the UCLA Mathematics Department in summer 2024. She is interested in scientific computing and numerical methods, computational geometry and computer graphics. She is working on parallel computation of Voro++, and is studying shear band formation in bulk metallic glasses through numerical simulation. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Mathematics, Statistics and Finance.

Jiayin is from Guangzhou, China, and she misses the food there a lot! Jiayin likes art and design, photography, nature, traveling, music and making things.

Email / Personal homepage / Flickr

Former postdoctoral scholars

Former Ph.D. students

Former master's students

Additional graduate advisees

Former undergraduate researchers

Former visiting students

Former sabbatical visitors