Prof. Chris Bauch

Discovery Runs in His Blood

With a NASA engineer, physicist and astronomer in the family, this mathematics prof was destined to pursue the truths of the universe.


Chris Bauch is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo. We asked everything from why he chose his field of study to what’s on his playlist in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
My father, who is an engineer at NASA, my uncle, who is a physicist, and my grandfather’s best friend, who was an astronomer.  All of them inspired me to be curious about the natural world when I was a child.

What do you like most about being a scientist?
Discovering new things and telling the rest of the world about it.

What do you envision in the future of your field?
Greater integration with other fields.  The boundaries between fields will continue to dissolve as we recognize the diminishing advantages of separating all of human knowledge into neat compartments.

How will your research make a difference in our lives?
I am hoping it will improve both human and environmental health, by providing greater insight into how coupled human-environment and human-disease systems work, and how they respond to our interventions.

What advice would you give young researchers?
They should come to the University of Waterloo :)   Seriously, it’s a great place for innovators and those who refuse to be held back by traditional thinking.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That is hard to say, I am not really sure.  Maybe you should ask me again in 30 years.

What do you read?
Currently I am reading This Idea Must Die by John Brockman.

What’s on your Ipod?
Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts such as those from Nature Magazine, BBC Science, and The Naked Scientist.  My musical tastes range from classical music (broadly interpreted) to classic rock, jazz, and electronic music.

If you could meet any historical figure who would it be and why?
I would actually try to meet a pre-historical figure, simply because we can learn so much more from someone born in a world we have no written record of.  The problem is, by definition, I can’t name any pre-historical figures we can confirm existed!

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?
A writer of non-fiction.

What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy playing board games, doing yoga, and spending time with my wonderful wife Madhur Anand and three kids Jaya, Kiran and Gita.