Vishal Patil is currently a Stanford Science Fellow at Stanford University. Incorporating ideas from mathematics to biology, his work aims to understand how topology and geometry can be used to organize and control soft matter systems. His current research at Stanford concerns adaptive, heterogeneous metamaterials, with a focus on understanding their capacity to exhibit self-learning behavior.

Honors & Awards

  • Stanford Science Fellow, Stanford University (2021)
  • MathWorks Science Fellowship, MIT School of Science (2020)
  • MIT Presidential Fellowship, MIT (2016)

Professional Education

  • Master of Mathematics, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2021)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge, Mathematics (2015)
  • Master of Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Mathematics (2016)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institue of Technology, Applied mathematics (2021)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Chiral edge modes in Helmholtz-Onsager vortex systems PHYSICAL REVIEW FLUIDS Patil, V. P., Dunkel, J. 2021; 6 (6)
  • Discharging dynamics of topological batteries PHYSICAL REVIEW RESEARCH Patil, V. P., Kos, Z., Ravnik, M., Dunkel, J. 2020; 2 (4)
  • Topological mechanics of knots and tangles SCIENCE Patil, V. P., Sandt, J. D., Kolle, M., Dunkel, J. 2020; 367 (6473): 71-+


    Knots play a fundamental role in the dynamics of biological and physical systems, from DNA to turbulent plasmas, as well as in climbing, weaving, sailing, and surgery. Despite having been studied for centuries, the subtle interplay between topology and mechanics in elastic knots remains poorly understood. Here, we combined optomechanical experiments with theory and simulations to analyze knotted fibers that change their color under mechanical deformations. Exploiting an analogy with long-range ferromagnetic spin systems, we identified simple topological counting rules to predict the relative mechanical stability of knots and tangles, in agreement with simulations and experiments for commonly used climbing and sailing bends. Our results highlight the importance of twist and writhe in unknotting processes, providing guidance for the control of systems with complex entanglements.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aaz0135

    View details for Web of Science ID 000506686400036

    View details for PubMedID 31896713

  • Controlling fracture cascades through twisting and quenching PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Heisser, R. H., Patil, V. P., Stoop, N., Villermaux, E., Dunkel, J. 2018; 115 (35): 8665-8670


    Fracture fundamentally limits the structural stability of macroscopic and microscopic matter, from beams and bones to microtubules and nanotubes. Despite substantial recent experimental and theoretical progress, fracture control continues to present profound practical and theoretical challenges. While bending-induced fracture of elongated rod-like objects has been intensely studied, the effects of twist and quench dynamics have yet to be explored systematically. Here, we show how twist and quench protocols may be used to control such fracture processes, by revisiting Feynman's observation that dry spaghetti typically breaks into three or more pieces when exposed to large pure bending stresses. Combining theory and experiment, we demonstrate controlled binary fracture of brittle elastic rods for two distinct protocols based on twisting and nonadiabatic quenching. Our experimental data for twist-controlled fracture agree quantitatively with a theoretically predicted phase diagram, and we establish asymptotic scaling relations for quenched fracture. Due to their general character, these results are expected to apply to torsional and kinetic fracture processes in a wide range of systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1802831115

    View details for Web of Science ID 000442861600037

    View details for PubMedID 30104353

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6126751