Dr Rath SpivackGraduate Tutor, Director of Studies in Mathematics

Degrees and Honours

Laurea in Physics (Milan, Italy); PhD in Applied Mathematics (Open, UK); Cambridge MA (Statute B.III.6)

Membership of Professional Bodies / Associations

European Women in Mathematics
London Mathematical Society
Cambridge Philosophical Society


Orsola Rath Spivack was born in Milan, where she studied for an undergraduate degree in Physics. After teaching Mathematics and Physics and an initial period of research in statistical physics, first in Milan, then at Tel-Aviv University, she came to the UK to study for a PhD in Applied Mathematics and later joined the Cavendish Laboratory as a Research Assistant. Following a 5 year career break to look after her two young children, she joined Lucy Cavendish in 1995 with a Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship. She subsequently was Lu Gwei Djen Research Fellow, before becoming Graduate Tutor in 1999. She is also Director of Studies in Mathematics.

Research Interests

Current research interests centre on acoustic and electromagnetic wave scattering from rough surfaces, particularly methods for large systems and enhanced backscatter. Other ongoing research concerns propeller noise, and the interaction between the acoustic field and various structures, such as ship hulls and oil platforms.

Previous research has looked at various topics in nonlinear dynamics, correspondence between classical and quantal chaos, multifractal measure in Diffusion Limited Aggregates and the Boltzmann equation for polyatomic gases. 

Current research projects and related information  can be found in more detail on Orsola's profile on the Faculty website.

Course involvement in the University of Cambridge

Orsola lectures and examines in the Department of Applied Mathematics. She currently serves, and has served on a number of University committees, including as Deputy Chair of the Graduate Tutors Committee from 2007 - 2011. Orsola currently lectures on Direct and Inverse Scattering of Waves (Part III) and is involved in the delivery of CATAM (Part II).

Publications (selected)

  • O. Rath Spivack and M. Spivack - 'Efficient boundary integral solution for acoustic wave scattering by irregular surfaces', (arXiv:1407.5560)  
  • O. Rath Spivack and M. Spivack - 'Fast boundary Integral Solutions for Acoustic Scattering by Large objects', ICVS13 Proceedings, Vienna (2006)
  • O. Rath Spivack, R. Kinns and N. Peake - 'Acoustic Excitation of Hull Surfaces by Propeller Sources', Journal of Marine Science and Technology 9, 109 (2004)
  • O. Rath Spivack - 'Classical dynamics of electron and positron impact processes', J. Phys. IV 9 191 (1999)
  • O. Rath Spivack, J.Rasch, C.T. Whelan, R.J. Allan and H.R.J. Walters - '(e,2e) processes with hydrogenic ion targets in coplanar symmetric geometry', J. Phys. B. 31 845 (1998)
  • R.C. Ball and O. Rath Spivack - 'The interpretation and measurement of the f(α) spectrum of multifractal measure', J. Phys. A. 23 5295 (1990)
  • O. Rath and D.Richards - 'The adiabatic semiclassical theory for the quadratic Zeeman effect', J. Phys. B. 21 555 (1988)
  • P.M. Koch, K.A.M. van Leeuwen, O. Rath, D. Richards and R.V. Jensen - 'Microwave ionisation of highly excited hydrogen atoms: experiment and theory', in Physics of Space, Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Physics (1987)