College of Letters and Science Distinguished Speakers Series, Andrew J. Bernoff
- Friday, September 13, 2019 at 2:00pm
- Strand Union Building, Procrastinator Theater - view map
Andrew Bernoff, the Diana and Kenneth Jonsson Professor of Mathematics in the Math Department at Harvey Mudd College, will present "An Introduction to Surface Tension (Or Why Raindrops are Spherical)" as part of the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series.
A common misconception is that raindrops take the form of teardrops. In fact, they tend to be nearly spherical due to surface tension forces. This is an example of how at small scales the tendency of molecules to adhere to each other is the dominant effect driving a fluid’s motion. Andrew Bernoff will explain how surface tension arises from intermolecular forces and will examine some examples of the behavior that can occur at small scales due to the balance between fluid-fluid and fluid-solid forces, with applications as varied as understanding how detergents help clean clothes to explaining how some insects can walk on water.
About the speaker:
Andrew Bernoff is the Kenneth and Diana Jonsson Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. His research specializes in bridging the gaps between mathematics, physics, biology and engineering with a particular emphasis on using dynamical systems methods to understand experiments and natural phenomena. Bernoff was an undergraduate at MIT where he received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics. He was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He is passionate about mentoring undergraduate research and supporting Harvey Mudd College’s Clinic Program, a year-long practicum in which teams of undergraduates work for industrial sponsors on real-world problems and applications. His research program centers on understanding the behavior of fluids at small scales and modeling the swarming of organisms, in particular locusts.
This talk is sponsored by the Department of Mathematical Sciences with support from the College of Letters and Science.