S.B. Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1969

Professor William W. Roberts, Jr., a native of Huntington, West Virginia,  earned  his  S.B.  in  mathematics   from  the  Massachusetts Institute  of Technology   in   1964   and   his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969. Professor Roberts came to the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia as an assistant professor in 1969.   In 1974,  he was promoted to associate  professor;   in 1982, he became full professor; in 1992, he was appointed to the Commonwealth Professor Chair of Engineering and Applied Science; and in 2004, he was appointed Director of Applied Mathematics.  The UVA Board of Visitors appointed Professor Roberts at his retirement in 2010 Professor Emeritus.

Professor Roberts has carried out consulting work for industrial firms and has held visiting positions at: the State Univ. of New York, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques  in France,  the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, the Stockholms Observatorium in Sweden, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, the Kitt Peak National Observatory, the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, the NASA  Langley Research Center, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and the NASA Ames Research Center. Among these visiting appointments were honorary awards of NORDITA Guest Professorship in 1974-75 and National Research Council Senior Research Associateship in 1989.


  • Instructor of the Year for Distance Learning 2005
  • NCR-University Stakeholder Innovation Award 1990
  • Distinguished Teaching Award 1980
  • Invitation to and Attendance at The Nobel Prize Ceremony and Nobel Banquet, Stockholm, Sweden, December 10, 1974 1974
  • Election to membership in The International Astronomical Union [I.A.U.] 1973

Research Interests

  • Bridging Applied Mathematics, through modeling and computer algorithm development, to other scientific and engineering disciplines and fields

Selected Publications

  • CGEP - Dedicated Distance-Education Instruction, Distance Learning News, CGEP 25th Anniversary Edition (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2008), pp. 8-9 WW Roberts Jr
  • Fibrous assemblies: modeling/computer simulation of compressional behavior, International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 16, No. 1/2 (2004), pp. 108 - 118. WW Roberts Jr, NB Beil
  • Modeling and Computer Simulation of the Compressional Behavior of Fiber Assemblies. Part II: Hysteresis, Crimp, and Orientation Effects, Textile Research J., Vol. 72, No. 5 (2002), pp. 375-382 NB Beil, WW Roberts Jr
  • Computing and Aerodynamics: Textile Machines and Processes towards 2000, TIWC96: Niches In The World Of Textiles, Vol. 2 (Textile Institute, Manchester, U.K., 1996), pp. 29-40 WW Roberts, Jr
  • Computational Modeling of Fiber Formation in Polypropylene Spunbonding with Crystallization: Comparison with Experiments, International Nonwovens Journal, Vol. 6 (1994), pp. 31-41. AC Smith, WW Roberts Jr
  • Modal Approach to the Morphology of Spiral Galaxies. III. Application To The Galaxy M 81, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 427 (1994), pp. 184-201. SA Lowe, WW Roberts Jr, J Yang, G Bertin, CC Lin
  • Straightening of Crimped and Hooked Fibers in Converging Transport Ducts: Computational Modeling, Textile Research Journal, Vol. 64, No. 6 (1994), pp. 335-344. AC Smith, WW Roberts Jr
  • Hypersonic, Stratified Gas Flows Past An Obstacle: Direct Simulation Monte Carlo Calculations, Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 77, No. 2 (1988), pp. 283 - 317. WW Roberts Jr, MA Hausman
  • Spiral Structure and Star Formation. I. Formation Mechanisms and Mean Free Paths, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 277 (1984), pp. 744-767 WW Roberts Jr, MA Hausman
  • Large-Scale Shock Formation in Spiral Galaxies and Its Implications on Star Formation, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 158 (1969), pp. 123-143. WW Roberts Jr

Courses Taught

  • Applied Mathematics courses at all undergraduate and graduate levels