Jonathan Gilligan is Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Associate Director for Research at the Vanderbilt Climate Change Research Network at Vanderbilt University.
Professor Gilligan is a member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy & Environment and the Vanderbilt Initiative for Smart Cities Operations Research and he is a founding member of the Erdős Institute for Collaboration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.
His research brings together interdisciplinary teams of social scientists, natural scientists, and engineers to study climate change and natural hazards. His projects include water conservation policies in American cities, developing better ways to educate and inform the public and government officials about flood hazards, identifying opportunities for rice farmers in Sri Lanka to cope with water scarcity, and studying problems of flooding and access to safe drinking water in coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Professor Gilligan led a team at the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration studying the chemistry of stratospheric ozone depletion and the potential impacts of supersonic aircraft on the ozone layer. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology with future Nobel laureate David J. Wineland, where he used trapped, laser-cooled ions to study quantum-mechanical limits to the accuracy of atomic clocks and helped pave the way for using trapped ions for quantum computing.
Aside from his academic work, he has co-authored a play and the libretto to an opera.