Daniel S. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Physics, Engineering, and Software – Brooklyn, NY

What I Do

I'm a research scientist and multidisciplinary engineer with experience in nonlinear dynamics, electronics, sensors, mechatronics, and the continuum mechanics of solids and fluids. I'm currently working in robotic software development.

Where I've Been

I grew up on Lego, Forrest Mims III electronics books, and sci-fi. In high school, I discovered physics and amateur radio. Despite my budding RF electronics and antenna design career, physics won out over electrical engineering for my undergrad studies, and the mathematics of chaos theory steered me toward graduate research in nonlinear dynamics.

During my Ph.D., I designed, built, and instrumented a twenty ton geophysical fluid dynamics experiment, measured what it did, wrote a few hundred pages about it, graduated, and then then dried it out and filled it with thirteen tons of flammable liquid metal. After a few more publications and some cool visualizations, I moved on to startup life in Brooklyn designing, building, and testing hydrokinetic generator prototypes.

Excellent performance of propulsion prototypes spun out of that work led to a R&D contract totaling nearly $1.5m in funding from the Office of Naval Research and pivoted us largely to robotics. As principal investigator, most of my time was dedicated to the development of Pliant Energy Systems' Velox amphibous robot. I've moved on from Pliant, but I'm still involved in an advisory capacity as Pliant develops its next-generation amphibous platform, C-Ray.

In Spring 2020, I joined Polarworks as Lead Physicist and now I'm working to build industrial robot programming software that's more intuitive and powerful.