Wednesday, April 24, 2013 -- Chad Topaz (Macalester College)
When: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 4pm
Preceded by Math Tea in Harney Room 222 at 3pm
Where: Harney Science Center 127
Patterns, Swarms, and the Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics
Abstract: From fish schools to zebra stripes to fluid waves, the world is full of patterns that form spontaneously. I will discuss natural pattern formation from the point of view of mathematical modeling, highlighting how minimal models can effectively -- and perhaps surprisingly -- describe real pattern-forming phenomena. As an extended example, I will discuss biological aggregations, which are arguably some of the most common and least understood patterns in nature. More specifically, I will present work performed with undergraduate students on modeling locust swarms with high-dimensional systems of nonlinear differential equations.