Colloquium-Govind Menon (Brown University)-Building polyhedra by self-assembly: theory and experiment

Mathematics - Colloquium

Friday, March 21, 2014
11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Stratton Hall
203

ABSTRACT: An important goal in materials chemistry since the mid-1990s has been to build materials and devices by mimicking physical and biological mechanisms of self-assembly. The area of self-assembly is now a vast, interdisciplinary enterprise, but mathematical engagement in the area has been quite modest to date.

I will discuss how an important biological example -- the self-assembly of icosahedral viruses -- can inspire and guide the development of technology. In particular, I will discuss the utility of a common discrete geometric framework to model:

(a) the self-assembly of a "simple" virus (the bacteriophage MS2) (this is mainly work of Reidun Twarock and her co-workers at the University of York);

(b) self-folding polyhedra (joint work with David Gracias' lab at Johns Hopkins).

There is very little advanced mathematics in this talk, and the ideas are accessible to a broad audience.

Suggested Audiences: Adult, College

E-mail: ma-chair@wpi.edu

Last Modified: March 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

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