Hello! I'm a newly minted Ph.D. in the Geophysics program at MIT, working with Dan Rothman. I use simple math to describe natural systems. Previously, I worked with Tanja Bosak, studying microbial controls on the Earth's carbon cycle. Prior to my arrival at MIT, I received a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Harvard University, where I studied acoustic anomalies with Eric Heller and soft condensed matter with Adam Abate and Dave Weitz.

Research: Rivers

I am fascinated by stream networks. Their incision in landscapes can create highly ramified networks, whose dynamics can [sometimes] be described by surprisingly simple mathematics.

They're also pretty (see above). My research as a graduate student encompassed roughly three main ideas: 1. river valley shape, 2. the migration of streams, and 3. river basin shapes.

I'm generally interested in any pretty math and complex natural systems in general, so if you find something you think I'd find interesting, let me know.


  • Yi, R.S., Cohen, Y., Devauchelle, O., Gibbins, R.G., Seybold, H.F., & Rothman, D.H. (2017). Symmetric rearrangement of groundwater-fed streams. Submitted; preprint available upon request.
  • Yi, R.S., Cohen, Y., Seybold, H., Stansifer, E., McDonald, R, Mineev-Weinsten, M., & Rothman, D.H. (2017). A free-boundary model of diffusive valley growth: theory and observation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 473(2202), 1364-5021.
  • Cohen, Y., Devauchelle, O., Seybold, H.F., Yi, R.S., Szymczak, P., & Rothman, D.H. (2015). Path selection in the growth of rivers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(46), 14132-14137.



I once considered myself a classically trained violinist and pianist, but have since moved on to songwriting.

If you want to hear what I've been working on, visit my dedicated music site, at rsymusic.com, or my SoundCloud.



Email: ryi@mit.edu
Github: rsyi