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J. Doug Wright

J. Douglas Wright, PhD

Professor of Mathematics
Department Head
Department of Mathematics
Office: Korman Center 296

Additional Sites:



  • PhD, Mathematics, Boston University, 2004
  • BS, Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University, 1997
  • BS, Physics, Pennsylvania State University, 1997

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Nonlinear waves
  • Partial differential equations
  • Dynamical systems
  • Lattice differential equations
  • Coherent structures


Doug Wright was born in Pittsburgh, PA in the same hospital that his mother, Carol, was born. At a young age, Doug demonstrated zero aptitude for mathematics and dreaded nothing more than a timed test on times tables. This was much to Carol’s chagrin for she had majored in the subject while at college. And so she took it upon herself to teach the boy how to solve for x.

It took some time, but eventually Doug became proficient in the subject and wound up majoring in it (and physics too) at Penn State. He then got a PhD in mathematics at Boston University, under the mentorship of Professor C. Eugene Wayne, writing a thesis on the dynamics of water waves. He spent a few years as a post-doctoral fellow, first at the Fields Institute in Toronto and subsequently at the University of Minnesota.

He was hired by Drexel as an assistant professor in 2007. Rising through the ranks, he is now a full professor and department head. He has taught a lot of Calculus, organized many seminars, won a few grants and written more than a few long technical articles. His research is in the area of nonlinear waves, especially in dispersive partial and lattice differential equations. In the main his work is focused on establishing precise quantitative descriptions of how waves move through various physical systems, ranging from water in a canal, to flames in an exploding gas, to electricity in a power grid. He’s particularly proud of the work he’s done with his PhD students at Drexel, who have gone on to jobs at CMU, Penn, Kennesaw State University and Princeton.

Selected Publications:

  1. Wright, J. D. (2022). A simple model of radiating solitary waves. Wave Motion, 114, 102971. doi: 10.1016/j.wavemoti.2022.102971
  2. Joshua A. McGinnis, J. Douglas Wright. Using random walks to establish wavelike behavior in a linear FPUT system with random coefficients. Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - S, 2022, 15(9): 2581-2607. doi: 10.3934/dcdss.2021100
  3. Ambrose, David & Hadadifard, Fazel & Wright, J. Douglas. (2021). Well-Posedness and Asymptotics of a Coordinate-Free Model of Flame Fronts. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems. 20. 2261-2294. doi: 10.1137/20M1370793.
  4. Nickolas Giardetti, Amy Shapiro, Stephen Windle, J. Douglas Wright. Metastability of solitary waves in diatomic FPUT lattices. Mathematics in Engineering, 2019, 1(3): 419-433. doi: 10.3934/mine.2019.3.419
  5. Faver, Timothy & Wright, J. Douglas. (2015). Exact diatomic Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Tsingou solitary waves with optical band ripples at infinity. SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis. 50. doi: 10.1137/15M1046836.
  6. Hoffman, Aaron & Wright, J. Douglas. (2017). Nanopteron solutions of diatomic Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Tsingou lattices with small mass-ratio. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena. 358. doi: 10.1016/j.physd.2017.07.004.
  7. Medvedev, Georgi & Wright, J. Douglas. (2016). Stability of Twisted States in the Continuum Kuramoto Model. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems. 16. doi: 10.1137/16M1059175.
  8. Akers, Benjamin & Ambrose, David & Wright, J. Douglas. (2014). Gravity perturbed Crapper waves. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science. 470. doi: 10.1098/rspa.2013.0526.
  9. Gaison, Jeremy & Moskow, Shari & Wright, J. Douglas & Zhang, Qimin. (2014). Approximation of Polyatomic FPU Lattices by KdV Equations. Multiscale Modeling & Simulation. 12. 953-995. doi: 10.1137/130941638.