Maksim Sipos


Department of Physics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1110 West Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

Statistical Mechanics and Pattern Formation with applications to Fluid Dynamics and Ecology. In Fluid Dynamics, I do direct numerical simulations and phenomenological modeling of the turbulent-laminar transitions. In Ecology, I write bioinformatics tools for microbial ecology and study Niche and Neutral population dynamics.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D. in Physics
Thesis: Phase Transitions in Fluids and Biological Systems
Thesis advisor: Nigel Goldenfeld
Ithaca College

B.A. in Mathematics with Honors
Thesis: Dynamical Plane Structures in the Parameter Plane of Cosine-Root Family

B.S. in Physics with Honors
Thesis: Optics and Cloaking in FDTD

Honors and Awards


  1. M. Sipos, B. G. Thompson. Electrodynamics on a grid: The finite-difference time-domain method applied to optics and cloaking. Am. J. Phys. 76, Issue 4, 464-469 (2008).
  2. S. Yildirim, C. Yeoman, M. Sipos, M. Torralba, B. Wilson, T. Goldberg, R. Stumpf, S. Leigh, B. White, K. Nelson. Characterization of Fecal Microbiome from Non-human Wild Primates Reveals Species Specific Microbial Communities. PLoS ONE 5, Issue 11, e13963 (2010).
  3. M. Sipos, P. Jeraldo, N. Chia, A Qu, A. S. Dhillon, M. E. Konkel, K. E. Nelson, B. A. White and N. Goldenfeld. Robust computational analysis of rRNA hypervariable tag datasets. PLoS ONE 5, Issue 12, e15220 (2010).
  4. M. Sipos and N. Goldenfeld. Directed percolation describes lifetime and growth of turbulent puffs and slugs. Phys. Rev. E Issue 84, 035304(R) (2011).
  5. P. Jeraldo* , M. Sipos* , N. Chia, J.M. Brulc, A.S. Dhillon, M.E. Konkel, C.L. Larson, K.E. Nelson, A. Qu, L.B. Schook, F. Yang, N. Goldenfeld, and B.A. White. Quantifying the Role of Neutral and Niche Processes in Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (2012) no. 25 9692-9698 (* indicates equal contribution.)
  6. T. Pfaff, M. Sipos, M.C. Sullivan, B.G. Thompson, M. Tran. The Use of Statistics in Experimental Physics. Accepted for publication in Mathematics Magazine in September 2012.

Talk and Poster Presentations

  1. Robust Computational Analysis of rRNA hypervariable tag datasets. Poster presented at Institute for Genomic Biology Fellows Symposium. April 2010.
  2. Rare Fluctuations and Cascades in Turbulence and Ecology. Talk given at UIUC PGSA Colloquium. December 2010.
  3. The relative role of niche and neutral processes in structuring gastrointestinal microbiomes. Talk given at the Center for the Physics of Living Cells Symposium. February 2011.
  4. Directed Percolation Transition in Pipe Flow Turbulence. Talk given at UIUC Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student Colloquium. April 2011.
  5. From 16S rRNA datasets to characterization of neutral and niche ecology in microbiomes. Talk given at Physics of Living Systems (POLS) workshop and a poster presented at International Conference on Biological Physics (San Diego, USA). June 2011.
  6. Directed Percolation Describes Lifetime and Growth of Turbulent Puffs and Slugs. Poster presented at the Boulder School of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. July 2011.

Employment Experience

Fall 2008
- Fall 2012
Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, University of Illinois

Taught discussion sections for introductory Physics courses for non-majors (101) and for majors and engineers (212). Designed, programmed and performed high-performance numerical experiments and performed mathematical analysis in physics and quantitative biology. Mentored and taught junior graduate students and was system administrator for the group.
Spring 2007
- Spring 2008
Intern Software Engineer, Grammatech

Helped develop the latest version of Grammatech's flagship product, CodeSonar. Wrote software in C and Python (Django). Also improved the company's automated testing framework.

Computing Skills

Website last updated: January 2013