Dr. Eric Rawdon, Mathematics Department, will speak Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the next event in the Center for Applied Mathematics Colloquium Series.

Dr. Eric Rawdon

Dr. Eric Rawdon

His presentation on “Taming Random Knots” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in 3M Auditorium, Owens Science Hall.

Polymers (plastics) can be modeled as polygons moving randomly in space. Knots are present in polymer loops and the knot in the loop affects what the loops look like, both the size of the loops and the shape. The big question is how to quantify that change. What can be said about the effect of the knot on the average size and shape? Does the effect change as the length of the polymer increases? Rawdon will discuss the modeling of polymers via random knots, concentrating on some recent work using ellipsoids to describe the knots.

Rawdon earned his B.A. from St. Olaf College and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Much of his research is in physical knot theory, i.e., the study of mathematical models of knotting phenomena. He is interested in physical considerations from biology, chemistry and physics.