IGM Colloquium: Knots: from reality to mathematics and back


Event details

Date and time 13.10.2020 12:1513:15  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. John Maddocks, Laboratory for Computation and Visualization in Mathematics and Mechanics, EPFL School of Basic Sciences (SB), Institute of Mathematics (MATH)
Category Conferences - Seminars

If you would like to attend the talk in BM 5202, please register here (on a first-come, first-served basis). This allows us to limit the number of people in the room and to satisfy contact tracing requirements.

For remote attendance: Zoom link

Knots have an extremely long history. In current times most people interested in knots are either sailors or climbers or knitters or surgeons or mathematicians. The classic mathematical theory of knots is to do with the topology of closed loops, so that shape is unimportant. More recently a small literature on the geometric theory of knots has arisen, where understanding certain idealised optimal shapes is everything. In parallel there is a (small) literature concerning the mechanics of real knots, where friction is everything. I will present some results of my own work on knots starting with simple mathematical models of the mechanics of knots, then passing to rather abstract mathematics of idealised optimal geometric shapes, and then returning to the reality of experimental data obtained by the group of Prof. P. Reis.

Bachelor in Mathematics, University of Glasgow 1974-78, D.Phil. Balliol College, Oxford 1978-81, since 1997 Chair of Applied Analysis, EPFL, 2018-2022 Einstein Foundation Berlin Visiting Fellow.

Research interests are generally in computational and applied mathematics, including physical knot theory, but primarily in the multi-scale mathematical modelling of DNA.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



IGM Colloquium: Knots: from reality to mathematics and back