Expert Details

Florin Diacu

Contact Information

Florin Diacu
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Languages: English, German, French, Romanian and Spanish
Mathematics & Statistics

Research Information

Research Description

-Celestial mechanics
-Dynamical systems
-Mathematical physics
-History and philosophy of mathematics

Expertise Database

Mathematician Florin Diacu uses celestial mechanics to explain the motions of heavenly bodies in the universe.

The study of celestial mechanics began in the 17th century with Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered that celestial bodies attract each other with a force equally proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the square of the distance. Using this law, mathematicians such as Dr. Diacu can write equations that describe the motions of planets, stars, comets and even galaxies.

These equations are simple to solve if only two celestial bodies are interacting with each other, but it becomes more difficult when multiple bodies interact: "If you have three or more bodies" he says, "the equations can't be fully solved."

Celestial mechanics have many applications. Scientists and mathematicians--with the help of computers--use celestial mechanics when they want to launch a space shuttle. "Without this mathematical field," Dr. Diacu says, "we would not have sent people to the moon."

Celestial mechanics can also help us predict eclipses and the return of comets and asteroids. Celestial mathematicians already know about the forces that guide asteroids and comets, so they can create accurate models that warn them if a collision will occur. "Knowing this gives us a chance to deflect or destroy these bodies before they do any damage," He says.

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Florin Diacu's Faces of UVic research video:

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UVic Speakers Bureau

Diacu takes part in the UVic Speakers Bureau.
More information about the Speakers Bureau can be found here.