Past Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar

11 October 2018
16:00
to
17:30
Madhavi Krishnan
Abstract

The desire to “freely suspend the constituents of matter” in order to study their behavior can be traced back over 200 years to the diaries of Lichtenberg. From radio-frequency ion traps to optical tweezing of colloidal particles, existing methods to trap matter in free space or solution rely on the use of external fields that often strongly perturb the integrity of a macromolecule in solution. We recently introduced the ‘electrostatic fluidic trap’, an approach that exploits equilibrium thermodynamics to realise stable, non-destructive confinement of single macromolecules in room temperature fluids, and represents a paradigm shift in a nearly century-old field. The spatio-temporal dynamics of a single electrostatically trapped object reveals fundamental information on its properties, e.g., size and electrical charge. We have demonstrated the ability to measure the electrical charge of a single macromolecule in solution with a precision much better than a single elementary charge. Since the electrical charge of a macromolecule in solution is in turn a strong function of its 3D conformation, our approach enables for the first time precise, general measurements of the relationship between 3D structure and electrical charge of a single macromolecule, in real time. I will present our most recent advances in this emerging area of molecular measurement and show how such high-precision measurement at the nanoscale may be able to unveil the presence of previously unexpected phenomena in intermolecular interactions in solution.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
14 June 2018
16:00
to
17:30
Antonio Desimone
Abstract

Locomotion strategies employed by unicellular organism are a rich source of inspiration for studying mechanisms for shape control. They are particularly interesting because they are invisible to the naked eye, and offer surprising new solutions to the question of how shape can be controlled.

In recent years, we have studied locomotion and shape control in Euglena gracilis. This unicellular protist is particularly intriguing because it can adopt different motility strategies: swimming by flagellar propulsion, or crawling thanks to large amplitude shape changes of the whole body (a behavior known as metaboly). We will survey our most recent findings within this stream of research.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
7 June 2018
16:00
to
17:30
David Fairhurst
Abstract

In laboratories around the world, scientists use magnetic stirrers to mix solutions and dissolve powders. It is well known that at high drive rates the stir bar jumps around erratically with poor mixing, leading to its nick-name 'flea'. Investigating this behaviour, we discovered a state in which the flea levitates stably above the base of the vessel, supported by magnetic repulsion between flea and drive magnet. The vertical motion is oscillatory and the angular motion a superposition of rotation and oscillation. By solving the coupled vertical and angular equations of motion, we characterised the flea’s behaviour in terms of two dimensionless quantities: (i) the normalized drive speed and (ii) the ratio of magnetic to viscous forces. However, Earnshaw’s theorem states that levitation via any arrangement of static magnets is only possible with additional stabilising forces. In our system, we find that these forces arise from the flea’s oscillations which pump fluid radially outwards, and are only present for a narrow range of Reynold's numbers. At slower, creeping flow speeds, only viscous forces are present, whereas at higher speeds, the flow reverses direction and the flea is no longer stable. We also use both the levitating and non-levitating states to measure rheological properties of the system.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
31 May 2018
16:00
to
17:30
Herbert Huppert
Abstract

There are a huge number of nonlinear partial differential equations that do not have analytic solutions.   Often one can find similarity solutions, which reduce the number of independent variables, but still leads, generally, to a nonlinear equation.  This can, only sometimes, be solved analytically.  But always the solution is independent of the initial conditions.   What role do they play?   It is generally stated that the similarity  solution agrees with the (not determined) exact solution when (for some variable say t) obeys t >> t_1.   But what is  t_1?   How does it depend on the initial conditions?  How large must  t be for the similarity solution to be within 15, 10, 5, 1, 0.1, ….. percent of the real solution?   And how does this depend on the parameters and initial conditions of the problem?   I will explain how two such typical, but somewhat different, fundamental problems can be solved, both analytically and numerically,  and compare some of the results with small scale laboratory experiments, performed during the talk.  It will be suggested that many members of the audience could take away the ideas and apply them in their own special areas.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar
24 May 2018
16:00
to
17:30
Frederic Dias
Abstract

Statements in media about record wave heights being measured are more and more common, the latest being about a record wave of almost 24m in the Southern Ocean on 9 May 2018. We will review some of these wave measurements and the various techniques to measure waves. Then we will explain the various mechanisms that can produce extreme waves both in wave tanks and in the ocean. We will conclude by providing the mechanism that, we believe, explains some of the famous extreme waves. Note that extreme waves are not necessarily rogue waves and that rogue waves are not necessarily extreme waves.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar

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