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Becca Thomases

Professor of Mathematical Sciences


Burton 315


Becca Thomases is a mathematician who applies data driven analytical methods and computational tools to study partial differential equations modeling problems in life sciences and engineering.  Recently Thomases has been looking at how micro-organisms, such as sperm and other flagellated organisms, move in mucus and other sticky, gooey environments.

Before arriving at Smith, Thomases was on the faculty in the Mathematics Department at the University of California, Davis. Thomases served as the Vice Chair for Graduate Matters in the Mathematics Department and has supervised several PhD students.

Thomases has led initiatives to increase active learning in mathematics classrooms and has created a Teaching Assistant training curriculum that addresses topics such as: understanding the role of diversity in classrooms, and developing concrete strategies for building inclusive classrooms. An Applied Mathematician, Thomases is excited to bring interdisciplinary research projects in applied mathematics to the students at Smith College.

Selected Publications

“A mathematician’s perspective on the Oldroyd B model: Progress and future challenges”, (with M. Renardy) J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech., 293, 104573, 2021.

“Three dimensional viscoelastic instabilities in a four-roll mill geometry at the Stokes limit”, (with P. Gutierrez-Castillo, and A. Kagel) Phys. Fluids, 32, no. 2, 023102, 2020.

“Polymer stress growth in viscoelastic fluids in oscillating extensional flows with applications to micro- organism locomotion”, (with R. D. Guy) J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech., 269, pp. 47-56, 2019.

“Convergent solutions of Stokes Oldroyd-B boundary value problems using the Immersed Boundary Smooth Extension (IBSE) method”, (with D.B. Stein, and R.D. Guy) J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech., 268, pp. 56-65, 2019.

“Orientation dependent elastic stress concentration at tips of slender objects translating in viscoelastic fluids”, (with C. Li, and R.D. Guy) Phys. Rev. Fluids 4, 031301(R), 2019.

“Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) of the flow dynamics for a viscoelastic fluid in a four-roll mill geometry at the Stokes limit”, (with P. Gutierrez-Castillo) J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech., 264, pp. 48-61, 2019.


Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara
B.A., Vassar College

Selected Works in ScholarWorks