Park City Mathematics Institute
Summer School Teachers Program
Summer 2014
Clay Senior Scholar-in-Residence Public Lecture
L. Mahadevan, Harvard University

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Gilding the lily: geometry, physics and botany

Mahadevan explained, "I will discuss some mathematical and physical problems inspired by the form of and motion in plant organs, including:
(i) the macroscopic undulations of a leaf,
(ii) the blooming of a flower,
(iii) the morphogenesis of tendrils,
(iv) the growth and form of shoots, and
(v) the rapid movements of certain plants.

In each case, we will see how a combination of physical experiments, mathematical models and simple computations allow us to begin to unravel the basis for diversity and complexity of biological form and motion in plants, a topic which Darwin famously said 'might drive even the sanest man mad.'"


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