Research and Graduate Studies

2014 Jerome Richfield Fellow Presents at the Provost's Colloquium

January 14, 2014

Professor Maria D'Orsogna

Provost Harry Hellenbrand has announced that this year's Jerome Richfield Fellow is Maria D'Orsogna, Professor of Mathematics in the College of Science and Mathematics. In keeping with tradition, the Richfield Fellow presented her research at the Provost's Colloquium on April 3, 2014.

Title of Presentation: The Mathematics of Crime

Abstract: The application of mathematics to broader scientific fields has allowed us to better understand bacterial organization, bird flocking, portfolio management, climate change and disease spread, to name a few. Connections with other disciplines inspire new mathematics and introduce innovative concepts and insights.

The mathematics of crime builds on known sociological facts such as repeat victimization and the broken windows effect, on police data and on behavioral experiments. We use effective functionals that, while simplistic, capture the main trends and allow for mathematical analysis.

We model the emergence of crime hotspots in urban areas via coupled reaction-diffusion equations and using data from the Long Beach Police Department we estimate typical spatiotemporal scales over which the likelihood of repeat burglary is enhanced. Stochastic simulations and game-theory are used to study the efficacy of rehabilitation programs as a way to prevent recidivism and how the presence of informants leads to crime abatement. Some of our results were validated by experiments conducted at UCI. Finally, we also discuss possible extensions and new research avenues.

For more information about Dr. D’Orsogna visit