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Graduate Applied Math Seminar

The Graduate Applied Math Seminar is one of the main tools for bringing together applied grad students in the department and building the community. You are encouraged to get involved! It is weekly seminar run by grad students for grad students. If you have any questions, please contact Peter Mueller (mueller (at)

The seminar schedule can be found here. We meet in Van Vleck 903 from 9am to 9:45am on Fridays.

Fall 2013

date speaker title
September 20 Peter Mueller "Fluid dynamics crash course"
September 27 Peter Mueller "Solutions to Stokes flow"
October 25 Zhennan Zhou
November 1 Will Mitchell "How do we make a mesh? Two fundamental schemes"


Please add your abstracts here.

Friday, Sept 20: Peter Mueller

"Fluid dynamics crash course"

Abstract: Deriving fundamental solutions to Stokes flow and using complex variable tricks to solve two-dimensional problems.

Friday, Sept 27: Peter Mueller

"Solutions to Stokes flow"

Abstract: We will slowly traverse the steps to exactly solve flow past a cylinder (2D) or sphere (3D).

Friday, Nov 1: Will Mitchell

"How do we make a mesh? Two fundamental schemes"

Abstract: Meshing a bounded 2D or 3D region using triangles or tetrahedra is a fundamental problem in numerical mathematics and an area of active research. In this talk I'll discuss two now-classical (although only 10-year-old) algorithms which can succeed in addressing the challenges of irregular boundaries and variable densities. For those wishing to read ahead, see:

1) Persson and Strang, "A simple mesh generator in Matlab," SIAM Review, 2004

2) Du et al, "Constrained centroidal Voronoi tesselations for surfaces," SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, 2003.

Spring 2013

date speaker title
February 1 Bryan Crompton "The surprising math of cities and corporations"
February 8 Peter Mueller Mandelbrot's TED talk
February 15 Jim Brunner "Logical Models, Polynomial Dynamical Systems, and Iron Metabolism"
February 22 Leland Jefferis Video lecture on intro quantum mechanics + The postulates of quantum mechanics + Spin 1/2 systems
February 29 Leland Jefferis Topics in quantum mechanics: Spin 1/2 systems + Uncertainty relations + Quantum harmonic oscillators + ...
March 15 Will Mitchell FEniCS, my favorite finite element software package
March 22
April 5 Bryan Crompton TBD
April 26 Peter Mueller Stokeslets, flagella, and stresslet swimmers


Please add your abstracts here.

Friday, Feb 1: Bryan Cromtpon

"The surprising math of cities and corporations"

Abstract: We'll watch Geoffrey West's TED talk and discuss some of the math in his papers.

Friday, Feb 15: Jim Brunner

"Logical Models, Polynomial Dynamical Systems, and Iron Metabolism"

Abstract: I will introduce logical models and polynomial dynamical systems in the context of a model of iron metabolism in an epithelial cell.

Friday, Feb 22 & Feb 29: Leland Jefferis

"Topics in Quantum Mechanics"

Abstract: I will introduce the key ideas of quantum mechanics and expose the fascinating mathematical framework behind the theory.

Friday, Mar 15: Will Mitchell

"FEniCS, my favorite finite element software"

Abstract: The finite element method is mathematically elegant but can be thorny to code from scratch. The free, open-source FEniCS software takes care of the worst implementation details without constraining the freedom of the user to specify methods. I'll review the finite element method and then give some examples of FEniCS code.

Friday, Apr 6: Bryan Crompton

"Fractional Calculus and the Fractional Diffusion Wave Equation"

Abstract: I'll talk about the equivalent formulations, the Grundwald-Letnikov and Riemann-Liouville, of fractional calculus. I will give some examples of fractional derivatives (and integrals) and then discuss the fundamental solutions to the fractional diffusion wave equation. Derivations will be done non-rigorously.

Friday, Apr 26: Peter Mueller

"Stokeslets, flagella, and stresslet swimmers"

Abstract: I will be discussing time-dependent swimmers involving stokeslets as an approximation to flagella. We will then approximate the far-field by an oscillating stresslet and discuss some questionable results.

Archived semesters