Montana State University

Mixing of fluids to be focus of math lecture set for March 5 at MSU

February 23, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- A free public lecture about the morphology and mathematics of fluid mixing will be given at 3:10 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in the Byker Auditorium in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Building at Montana State University.

Philip Boyland, professor of mathematics and co-director of the Center for Applied Mathematics at the University of Florida, will present "Topology, Tangling and Fluid Mixing."

Flowing water has complicated patterns, swirls, eddies and flow lines that change and evolve, but also maintain a kind of constancy. These images and structures have fascinated artists and scientists for millennia. This lecture will begin with a description of some of the morphology and mathematics of these structures, followed by a discussion of their application to fluid mixing. Ideas and theorems from topology and chaotic dynamical systems will yield principles to design efficient mixers.

The main mathematical idea is that the topological constraints give rise to the exponential growth of material lines and thus of the gradients of transported quantities. The lecture will conclude with a discussion of how the same collection of topological/dynamical ideas can be used to quantify the entangling of such diverse entities as hair, ocean floats and individual motion in crowds.

Philip Boyland is an expert in topological methods in dynamical systems, which is the mathematical study of system evolution. A skilled expositor, he has given more than 100 conference and seminar presentations. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University and at the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley, Calif. He was also a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in Minneapolis, Minn., the IME at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and twice at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, U.K.

Boyland’s lecture is sponsored by MSU’s Department of Mathematical Sciences and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

This lecture is also part of the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ Colloquium Series.

For more information about this and other lectures in the L&S Distinguished Speakers Series, go to or call 994-3601.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or