03/23/2012 - 7:00pm

03/23/2012 - 8:00pm

If, as Galileo said, the book of the universe is written in the

language of mathematics, it is also true that many new chapters in the

book of mathematics have been inspired by nature. I will explore this

connection through several puzzles from the ordinary experiences of

everyday life: why is it difficult to break dry spaghetti in half? Why

do things like extension cords, shoe laces, and earbuds always get

tangled up in knots? How does a falling droplet splash onto the floor?

In each case, careful experimentation leads to mathematical answers,

generating interesting new questions in the process.

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Andrew Belmonte has long worked at the intersection of mathematics and the

world to which it can be applied. He received his PhD in Physics at

Princeton University (1994), and was awarded a Chateaubriand Fellowship

and an NSF International Fellowship to study at the Institut Non-Lineaire

de Nice in France for two years, after which he was a postdoc at the

University of Pittsburgh. In 1998 he became a faculty member at Penn State

University, where he currently works in the W. G. Pritchard Laboratories.

He was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2000), an NSF

CAREER Award (2001), and has been a visiting professor at the ESPCI in

Paris, France (2004) and at Harvard University (SEAS, 2007).

More info at CCMS: http://ccms.claremont.edu/Annual-Moody-Lecture-Series

also at Harvey Mudd College Moody Lecture Series Page: http://www.math.hmc.edu/moodylectures/

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