Skip to main content

About David D Nolte

David D. Nolte is the Edward M. Purcell Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University. His latest book is Galileo Unbound: A Path Across Life, the Universe and Everything (Oxford University Press , 2018) is on the history and physics of dynamics, topics on which he blogs regularly. He received his baccalaureate from Cornell University in 1981, his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988, and had a post-doctoral appointment at AT&T Bell Labs before joining the faculty at Purdue. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the AAAS. In 2005 he received the Herbert Newby McCoy Award of Purdue University. He is the technical founder of two biotech startup companies in diagnostic screening and analysis.


Present Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Biomedical Optics and Optoelectronics

Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Honors and Awards

  • EM Purcell Distinguished Professor of Physics (2015)
  • Fellow of the AAAS (2012)
  • McCoy Award (2005)
  • Fellow of the APS (2003)
  • Fellow of the OSA (1997)


  • Modern Dynamics


1981 - 1988 Ph. D., University of California, Berkeley ‐ Physics
1977 - 1981 B. A., Cornell University ‐ Physics

Galileo Unbound: A Path Across Life, The Universe and Everything (Oxford, 2018) (6)

The physics and history of dynamics.

Introduction to Modern Dynamics: Chaos, Networks, Space and Time (2nd Edition, Oxford, 2019) (9)

Physics textbook on modern dynamics with topics on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, nonlinear dynamics, chaos, network dynamics, synchronization, evolutionary dynamics, neurodynamics and neural networks, economic dynamics, special and general relativity.

Interference: A History of Interferometry (Oxford, 2023) (1)

The history of optical interferometry and its use to discover second Earths, to detect gravitational waves, to image black holes in distant galaxies, and to build the next quantum computers.

Optical Interferometry for Biology and Medicine (Springer, 2011) (2)

A technical book on the physics and applications of optical interferometry in the biosciences.

Mind at Light Speed: A New Kind of Intelligence (Free Press, 2001) (4)

A general-interest account of the optical technology revolution.

Review Articles (3)