John W. Hessler

GIS Scientist, Engineer, and Professor in Baltimore, MD

Read my Alpinist articles

When not climbing in the Alps, in the saddle of a fixed gear, or mountain biking through some jungle, I am a Specialist in Computational Geography & Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and a lecturer in Evolutionary & Quantum Computing in the Graduate School of Advanced Studies of the Krieger School of the Arts and Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University.

Founder and principle engineer at the start-up, the Flow Lab for Racing Bicycle Design, we apply methods from computational fluid dynamics and evolutionary computing to the design optimization and scientific study of racing bicycles. We are especially interested in the creation of unique aerodynamic geometries and the use of innovative materials science research for racing bike construction.

An avid traveler and mountaineer, I am an author and frequent contributor to Alpinist Magazine, where I write on the history of climbing, high-altitude physiology & the effects climate change on the sport of mountaineering.

Over the past few years I have lectured on or taught seminars about the Navier-Stokes equations, computational fluid dynamics, racing bike design, quantum field theory & computing, and the mathematical & algorithmic foundations of GIS.

My current academic & theoretical research focuses on the mathematics and conceptual foundations of the Navier-Stokes equations and on the use of the renormalization group, derived from quantum field theory, to study the complexity of its solutions.

The author of more than one hundred articles and books, including the New York Times best-seller, MAP: Exploring the World, my writing and work has been featured in many national media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Discover Magazine, WIRED, the Atlantic’s CITYLAB, the BBC, CBS News and most recently on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Always obsessed with the aesthetics & design of fast racing bikes, I find being close to the gentle hum of supercomputers, pondering the complexities of Cervelo carbon fiber frames and dreaming of the sublime heights of the Alpe d’Huez, strangely comforting.

  • Work
    • Johns Hopkins University / LoC