• B.A, Physics, Carleton College, 1991
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Davis, 1998

Before COA

From 1991-1993, Dave was a teacher of 9th and 10th grade physics and mathematics at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN. As a graduate student at UC Davis, Dave received several awards in recognition of both teaching and scholarship: The Dissertation Year Fellowship; The Chancellor’s Teaching Fellowship; and he was nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Scholarly and Creative Interests

Dave’s research interests lie in the fields of statistical mechanics and nonlinear dynamics. In particular, his research has examined how one might measure “complexity” or pattern in a mathematical system, and how such complexity is related to disorder. Dave has authored research papers in journals including Physical Review E, Chaos, and Advances in Complex Systems. Two of his papers have been cited over 400 times. In his research, Dave uses both analytic and computational techniques.

Dave is also interested in the teaching and learning of chaos and dynamical systems.  He has authored two books on these topics: Chaos and Fractals: An Elementary Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012), a textbook for non-math/science majors; and Chaos and Dynamical Systems (Princeton University Press, 2019), a contribution to the Primers in Complex Systems series. Dave has developed two MOOCs, one on Chaos and Dynamical Systems and one on Fractals and Scaling. These free, online classes are part of the Santa Fe Institute’s Complexity Explorer project and have been taken by thousands of students.

Dave has recently become interested in teaching about renewable energy and energy conservation. With Anna E. Demeo, then a lecturer at COA in engineering, he developed an introductory course on the physics and mathematics of sustainable energy. Anna and Dave received a $95,000 grant from the Maine Space Grant Consortium Research and Higher Education Program to support the development of the class. He is currently working on a textbook based on this class. Anna and Dave also received an $18,000 grant from the Environmental Education Program of the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and teach a workshop on sustainable energy for area elementary school teachers.

From 2004-2008, Dave gave a week-long series of lectures at the China Complex Systems Summer School (CSSS), co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute and the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. His lectures provided students with a broad introduction to complex systems, including dynamical systems, information theory, and computation theory. From 2006-2008 he was co-director of the China CSSS. He was PI on a $116,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation that partially supported the CSSS. Since 2017 he has served as director of the annual CSSS in Santa Fe.  From December 2018 to August 2019 he served as the Santa Fe Institute’s Interim Vice-President for Education.

More Information about my Courses

At COA Dave has taught over twenty different courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science.

Together with several other colleagues, in 2016 Dave launched the Thoreau Environmental Leaders Initiative, a project that supports participatory learning in food systems, renewable energy, and climate change politics, and helps give students skills in community organizing and activism. The project has been supported by several grants from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation totaling $155,000.

More About Me

His other interests include ultimate frisbee, hockey, cooking, travel, and gardening. He is married to Doreen Stabinsky; they have three excellent cats.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Dave is on the steering committee of Indivisible Mount Desert Island. He spoke at the 2017 Climate Change March, the 2018 Waves of Love rally on the one-year anniversary of the events in Charlottesville, a rally in 2019 on the eve of President Trump’s impeachment, and an event in 2022 shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dave is also a founding member of the MDI Racial Equity Working Group and the MDI Racial Equity Collective. He is a member of the Title IX team at College of the Atlantic and has completed an ATIXA level two Civil Rights Investigator training.

Honors and Awards

  • U.S. Fulbright Lecturer, Rwanda, 2012
  • Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of California, Davis, 1997-98
  • Chancellor’s Teaching Fellowship, University of California, Davis, 1996


  • D.P. Feldman and J.P. Crutchfield, Discovering Noncritical Organization: Statistical Mechanical, Information Theoretic, and Computational Views of Patterns in One-Dimensional Spin Systems, Entropy, 24(9), 1282- 1354. 2022.
  • A.E. Demeo, D.P. Feldman, and M.L. Peterson. A Human Ecological Approach to Energy Literacy through Hands-on Projects: An Essential Component of Effectively Addressing Climate Change. Journal of Sustainability Education. Vol. 4, January 2013.
  • M.D. Robinson, D.P. Feldman, and S.R. McKay. Local Entropy and Structure in a Two-Dimensional Frustrated System. Chaos. 21(3). 037114. 2011.
  • D.P. Feldman, C.S. McTague, and J.P. Crutchfield. The Organization of Intrinsic
    Computation: Complexity-Entropy Diagrams and the Diversity of Natural Information Processing. Chaos. 18:043106. 2008.
  • D.P. Feldman and J.P. Crutchfield, Synchronizing to Periodicity: The Transient Information and Synchronization Time of Periodic Sequences. Advances in Complex Systems. 7(3-4): 329-355, 2004.
  • D.P. Feldman and J.P. Crutchfield, Structural Information in Two-Dimensional Pat-
    terns: Entropy Convergence and Excess Entropy. Physical Review E. 67:051104. 2003.
  • J.P. Crutchfield and D.P. Feldman. Regularities Unseen, Randomness Observed: The
    Entropy Convergence Hierarchy. Chaos. 15: 25-54, 2003.
  • J.P. Crutchfield and D.P. Feldman, Synchronizing to the Environment: Information Theoretic Constraints on Agent Learning. Advances in Complex Systems. 4: 251-264,
  • J P. Crutchfield, D.P. Feldman, and C. R. Shalizi. Comment I on “Simple Measure for Complexity.” Physical Review E. 62:2996-7, 2000.
  • D. P. Feldman and J.P. Crutchfield. Statistical Measures of Complexity: Why? Physics Letters A, 238:244-52, 1998
  • J.P. Crutchfield and D.P. Feldman, Statistical Complexity of Simple 1D Spin Systems. Physical Review E. 55:R1239-42, 1997.

Invited Book Reviews

  • D.P. Feldman. Review of Introduction to Modern Dynamics: Chaos, Networks, Space and Time. Physics Today, 68(12):56, 2015.
  • D.P. Feldman. Review of Complex and Adaptive Dynamical Systems. Physics Today, 62(7):58-9, 2009.
  • D.P. Feldman. Review of Monte Carlo Methods in Statistical Physics. Computing in Science & Engineering, 2:73-4, 2000.


  • D.P. Feldman. Field Theory. Bateau. 7.1. Fall 2018.


  • A Crash Course on Fractals and Scaling. Complex Systems Summer School. Santa Fe, NM. June 13, 2019.
  • A Crash Course on Information Theory. Complex Systems Summer School. Santa Fe, NM. June 18, 2019.
  • A Crash Course on Fractals and Scaling. Complex Systems Summer School. Santa Fe, NM. June 13, 2018.
  • A Crash Course on Information Theory. Complex Systems Summer School. Santa Fe, NM. June 18, 2018.
  • Panel on Gerrymandering. A panel sponsored by the Maine League of Women Voters. Augusta, ME. February 15, 2018.
  • D.P. Feldman. Gerrymandering in the US: History, Law, Math, and Politics. Human Ecology Forum. College of the Atlantic. October 24, 2017.
  • Field Theory. A joint reading with Dan Mahoney. Human Ecology Forum. College of the Atlantic. Bar Harbor, ME. May 23, 2017.
  • Predictable Unpredictability: Strange Attractors and the Buterfly Effect. Eagle Hill Institute. Steuben, ME. August 8, 2013.
  • Local Complexity for Heterogeneous Spatial Systems. Information in Dynamical Systems and Complex Systems Workshop. Burlington, VT. July 18–19, 2013.
  • Complexity, Unpredictability, and Synchronization: Information Theoretic Measures of Structure and Randomness. IDyOM Workshop on Information and Neural Dynamics in the Perception of Musical Structure. Goldsmiths College, London, UK. March 17, 2013.
  • Strange Attractors and the The Butterfly Effect: The Mathematics of Chaos. Science
    Café sponsored by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and McKay’s Public
    House, Bar Harbor, ME. Feb. 6, 2013.
  • Chaos and Complex Systems: In the Classroom and Beyond. Smith Institute for
    Applied Research, Invitational Symposium. Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte,
    NC. Oct. 26, 2012.