CI²MA - Events | News


25 April 2023: Former CI²MA researcher joined the U. Católica de Temuco as an academician
After obtaining his doctorate at the UdeC and spending a stay at the U. of Waterloo, Paulo Zúñiga joined this university in the capital of La Araucanía this semester

In December 2019, Paulo Zúñiga Oyarzo obtained the degree of Doctor of Applied Sciences with a minor in Mathematical Engineering, in the postgraduate program that takes place at the facilities of the Center for Research in Mathematical Engineering (CI²MA) of the Universidad de Concepción, UdeC. 

Paulo developed his PhD thesis High-Order Mixed Methods in Continuum Mechanics under the direction of CI²MA and the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the U. de Chile researchers, Dr. Manuel Solano Palma and Dr. Ricardo Oyarzúa Vargas. 

“His thesis work consisted mainly in developing high-order mixed finite element methods to approximate the solution of differential equations in non-polyhedral domains, both from the theoretical and computational implementation point of view”, Professor Solano explained. 

“Paulo was characterized by his independence, responsibility and rigor, carrying out an excellent thesis work. After graduating, he continued working with us as a CI²MA researcher, until he joined the University of Waterloo”, added the also academic from the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the UdeC. 

Originally from Calbuco, Los Lagos Region, after graduating as a Secondary Education Teacher with a major in Mathematics and Computing in 2013 at the U. de Los Lagos, he chose to dedicate himself to scientific research and, for this, he joined the program of Magister in Mathematics with a mention in Applied Mathematics from the U. del Bío-Bío, from which he graduated in 2015. 

More recently, in 2022 he carried out a postdoctoral stay at the University of Waterloo (Canada), under the patronage of the Department of Applied Mathematics. “I first visited Canada in 2018 to collaborate with Sander Rhebergen on a project that later became a chapter of my doctoral thesis. Thanks to the links forged, I returned to Waterloo in 2022 to take up a postdoctoral position supervised by both Sander and David Del Rey Fernández, who recently joined the University and, prior to that, worked at a NASA research facility. My experience in Canada was very enriching, since I was able not only to carry out research, but also to teach two undergraduate courses”, Paulo details. 

In this regard, Professor Oyarzúa affirms that, “from the beginning, we told Paulo that it was essential that, after his doctoral studies, he carry out a postdoctoral fellowship abroad, since this would allow him to start new research topics that were not involved with the work obtained in his doctoral thesis. This would allow it to have scientific independence in the future”. 

The also academic from the Faculty of Sciences of the U. del Bío-Bío emphasized that “I met Paulo when he was arriving from my postdoctoral stay at the UBB, and when he told me that he wanted to do his thesis under my direction, I just asked him work on a topic that I had been working on with my postdoc supervisor, Dominik Schötzau. As a result of this master's thesis, with Paulo, we published his first article”.  

Meanwhile, the Director of CI²MA, Dr. Rodolfo Araya Durán, emphasizes that “the results of a postgraduate program are always measured by the quality of its graduates and where they are working. For this reason, I cannot but be glad for the academic position that Dr. Zúñiga recently obtained at the UC of Temuco. My congratulations go to him, as well as to his thesis supervisors, along with my best wishes for professional and personal success”. 

After his stay in Canada, at the beginning of this first semester, Dr. Zúñiga joined the Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad Católica de Temuco. “The academic proposal of the University seemed attractive to me because, beyond Concepción, which is a great pole of development of applied mathematics, there are no postgraduate programs related to my research area in the south of our country”.   

Regarding his lines of research, the scientist explains that “in fluid mechanics, several problems are modeled using complex geometries that are difficult to accurately represent in computers, such as the air flow around an airplane. This negatively affects the numerical solution used to approximate the equations that govern the physical phenomenon in question”. 

“For this reason”, he elaborates, “together with Ricardo Oyarzúa and Manuel Solano, we decided to direct my doctoral thesis towards recovering the precision of the numerical solution in such situations, as well as in equations that model poroelastic media, such as the human brain. In addition, during my time at Waterloo, I worked on the development of numerical methods that seek to preserve the physical properties inherent in mathematical models of multiphase fluids, such as conservation of mass and the second law of thermodynamics, in order to achieve simulations. more accurate computational techniques in applications such as bubble dynamics, offshore engineering, land-mantle dynamics, and other fields of interest. 

Paulo details that currently, along with his scientific research activities, he teaches Calculus III and Ordinary Differential Equations to second-year Engineering students and “it is very likely that I will begin to collaborate with the Master's program in Applied Mathematics during the second semester of this year”. 

From a more personal point of view, Paulo affirms that “the possibility of being close to my family in Calbuco and Concepción is a factor that I positively valued when deciding to come here”.










Photo 1: Dr. Zúñiga in his new office
Photo 2: View of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad Católica de Temuco



<< Back to news list.