Eve Armstrong is an assistant professor of physics at New York Tech and a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH.) She received her B.A. in Astrophysics from Columbia University and her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD.) She studies information flow in nonlinear dynamical systems, focusing on high-density astrophysical environments and networks of biological neurons. She is also a theater producer and director, and develops workshops for scientists to hone their communication skills, using techniques from theatre, improvisation, comedy, and storytelling.

Recent Projects/Research


Armstrong develops inference methodologies to complete models of nonlinear dynamical systems, given sparse measurements from those systems. Her current focus is neutrino emission from core-collapse supernovae (CCSN). A CCSN occurs when a supermassive star explodes catastrophically at the end of its nuclear-fusion-burning lifetime. This process bears upon fundamental questions regarding the Universe's building blocks. The physics is fiercely nonlinear, as are most realistic representations of natural processes, and many parameters of the associated model remain poorly constrained. In addition, the measurements that are available to shed light upon this physics—namely, Earth-based neutrino detections—are extremely sparse.

Having in hand a poorly constrained model and sparse measurements, Armstrong's research group develops an optimization-based inference methodology. Optimization is a means to solve a model given available measurements, where the measurements are assumed to be a manifestation of underlying physical dynamics. Their specific method differs from the better-known machine-learning paradigm, as it is designed for the case of extremely sparse—rather than plentiful—data.

Armstrong is also active in adapting this procedure in areas outside astrophysics. In neuroscience, the system of interest is a region of the avian brain associated with the generation of birdsong, and the measurements are electrical voltage time series from individual neurons. Armstrong has also applied the procedure to an epidemiological model of COVID-19, to illustrate how uncertainty in measurements limits the ability to predict – i.e. control – the pandemic.

Comedy and Science Communication

Armstrong is co-creator and co-artistic director of Reality Aside Theatre, a 501(c)3 incorporated in New York State. Her company has produced dark interactive theatre for public audiences, as well as science-themed sketch comedy for tri-state area schools. Now at New York Tech, Armstrong teaches improvisational theatre techniques, which culminate in an improv comedy show for fellow students and colleagues at the semester’s end. She also leads workshops at AMNH for young scientists to develop their communication skills and comfort with an audience. Participants are scientists – undergraduates through faculty – throughout the NYC area. They develop science-themed stand-up and storytelling pieces for performance at AMNH, and the New York Tech participants also perform at the annual Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE.) Armstrong also uses satire to encourage science readership, posting an annual April Fool’s article on the e-print archive arXiv.org: https://reality-aside.com/aprilfool


For CV and publications, see: https://reality-aside.com/research/

Courses taught at New York Tech

  • Introduction to Modern Physics (Phy 225)
  • Special Topics in Physics (Phy 490)
  • General Physics I and II (Phy 170 and 180)
  • Workshop in Theatrical Performance: Improvisational Comedy (THEA 265/270/275)