Colloquium on May 26th, 2003

Martin-Gutzwiller-Fellowship, Award Ceremony

Raymond E. Kapral

Knotty problems in nonlinear dynamics

A knowledge of how spatial patterns form in systems as diverse as the heart, lasers, liquid crystals or chemical reactions is important for an understanding of how such systems function. Instead of tackling this general topic, the talk will focus on some situations where ideas from topology and knot theory can provide insight into pattern formation. In some cases topology determines the spacial pattern, in other situations behavior analogous to twisted telephone cords or knotted DNA is seen. The origin of such patterns will be described and illustrated with examples from simulation and experiment.