Sanjeeva Balasuriya

Associate Professor Sanjeeva Balasuriya

Associate Professor

School of Mathematical Sciences

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

More information available at personal website.

I am interested in problems which lie at the interface between mathematics and its applications. The projects I work on usually emerge directly from physical or biological instances. While using mathematical methods is ideally highly attractive in better understanding underlying mechanisms and their effects, it is often necessary to also use computational methods to investigate problems intractable to analysis, or to supplement theoretical results. I also work on developing and extending mathematical theories, as motivated by applications.

Research Areas

  • Applied analysis
  • Dynamical systems
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Geophysical fluid mechanics
  • Mathematical ecology
  • Stochastic differential equations
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Partial differential equations
  • Combustion waves
  • Reaction-diffusion systems
  • Computational methods

For more information on my research, please visit my "Publications" page.

Awards and Grants

Calls for Papers


Recent and Forthcoming Activities (2016-)


Selected Past Activities (-2015)


    Current teaching (Semester 1, 2019)

    • Mathematics IB: Calculus [newly redeveloped]
    • Multivariable and Complex Calculus

    Registered students can access course material via MyUni.


    Teaching profile

    I have extensive teaching experience, acquired through teaching a variety of courses with different expectations across three continents. These courses run the gamut from large lectures to hundreds of students to small courses with two students, from examination-driven to project-driven, from chalk-and-talk to activity-based student-centred, from purely theoretical to very applied, from highly reliant on technology to strongly reliant on intuition, from mathematics for engineering to mathematics for the humanities. I have, for many years, developed curricula for and employed currently "hot" ideas in teaching: activity- and discovery-based learning, peer assessment, open-book and take-home examinations, student-run classes, flipping classrooms in various ways, project-driven courses, technology-enabled peer-instruction, etc, and have also developed course- and instructor-evaluation tools.

    I have taught at Brown University (USA), the University of Sydney, the University of Adelaide, the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), Oberlin College (USA) and Connecticut College (USA). The last two of these are "liberal arts" undergraduate institutions, renowned for their teaching excellence and broad-based education. These institutions provide innovative pedagogy and curricula in small class settings, and attract excellent undergraduates. I owe a lot of my teaching expertise and reputation to the insight gained at these colleges, and to interactions with colleagues and students everywhere that I have taught.


    Courses taught

    I have taught across the curriculum, from undergraduate courses for non-specialists to honours and masters level courses. A rough idea of the numbers of courses I have taught is given below.

    • Mathematics for humanities (4 times)
    • Single-variable calculus (16 times)
    • Multi-variable calculus (8 times)
    • Complex analysis (1 time)
    • Ordinary differential equations (4 times)
    • Partial differential equations (8 times)
    • Linear algebra (1 time)
    • Numerical analysis (3 times)
    • Real analysis (6 times)
    • Environmental modelling (3 times)
    • Advanced regression techniques (1 time)
    • Vibrations and waves [advanced] (1 time)
    • Fourier methods and signal processing [advanced] (1 time)
    • Classical mechanics (1 time)
    • Electromagnetic theory (1 time)
    • Fluid mechanics (2 times)
    • Capstone fourth-year seminar (2 times)
    • Dynamical systems [honours-level] (4 times)
    • Fluid mechanics [masters-level] (1 time)

    I have extensive experience in curriculum development, both at the level of individual courses, and in serving in institutional committees with a broader oversight. Courses to which I have brought a particularly new flavour include a course on "environmental modelling" which was cross-listed between mathematics and environmental studies, and a one-semester course "calculus with precalculus" which covers both differentiation and integration, aimed at students from non-physical science backgrounds who have not covered precalculus topics previously and yet insists on providing intuition for every aspect covered.

    • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

      Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
      2019 Principal Supervisor Using Data Assimilation and Lagrangian Coherent Structure Techniques to Improve Error Quantification in Geophysical and Climate Models Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Rose Joy Crocker
      2018 Principal Supervisor A Quantitative Evaluation of Lagrangian Coherent Structure Detection Methods Based on Experimental and Computational Limitations Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Aleksandar Badza
      2016 Co-Supervisor Mathematical Modelling of Pattern Formation in Biofilms Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Alexander Tam
    • Other Supervision Activities

      Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
      2016 - ongoing External Supervisor Stretching and folding in data-driven and chaotic systems Clarkson University, USA Clarkson does not have official external supervisors; this is an unofficial capacity. The student has joint publications with me already. Doctorate K.G. Sulalitha Priyankara
      2015 - 2016 External Supervisor Patterns in natural systems Leiden University (Netherlands) This was an unoffical external supervision; a joint publication resulted from this, and the student graduated in 2016. Doctorate Lotte Sewalt
    • Position: Associate Professor
    • Phone: 83133026
    • Email:
    • Fax: 8313 3696
    • Campus: North Terrace
    • Building: Ingkarni Wardli, floor 6
    • Room: 6 15
    • Org Unit: Mathematical Sciences

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