Radiative Transfer using the Monte Carlo Method: Applications from Astrophysics to Biology
George W. Kattawar
Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
We will begin with a brief history of the Monte Carlo method showing the virtues and versatility
of the method. A plethora of applications will be discussed ranging from radiative transfer in
realistic atmosphere-ocean systems to camouflage in cephalopods. The full Mueller matrix/Stokes
vector method will be used and we will show why it is the only correct way to do radiative transfer.
The “backward” Monte Carlo method will also be introduced showing its usefulness in solving certain
problems and how it is related to reciprocity or time reversal invariance of Maxwell’s equations.
This talk should be understood by all who are in attendance.
Prof. Kattawar is an internationally renowned expert in radiative transfer and light scattering
dealing with full Mueller matrix/Stokes vector processes. One of the striking things about his
research is that it covers so many different disciplines. He has made significant contributions
in such diverse areas as biomedical optics, radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, cloud
property studies related to global warming, invisibility cloaking, ultrashort laser propagation
in water, and anthrax detection, just to mention a few. He has authored/coauthored over 210 papers
in peer reviewed jornals. He has won several awards such as Fellow of the Optical Society of America,
1976; Amoco Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, 1981; Teacher/Scholar Award, 1990; He was also elected
for two, three year terms on the Committee on Recommendations for U.S. Army Basic Scientific Research
under the National Research Council. His most recent honor was being selected by the Texas Academy of
Science as the Distinguished Texas Scientist for the year 2011. He is a former Associate Editor of the
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans and a former Associate Editor of the Journal of Transport Theory
and Statistical Physics. He was selected to be editor of the SPIE Milestone Series on “Multiple Scattering
in Plane Parallel Atmospheres and Oceans: Techniques”. He was selected (2009) to serve on the External
Advisory Board of the Stevens Institute of Technology to assess their engineering and science programs.
He has served as Academic Advisor of the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science. He has also
been a major consultant to the Navy for several secret projects related to National Defense. In addition
to his many invited talks at both national and international meetings, he is constantly being invited to
give popular talks to civic and student organizations.