The topic is “Soap Films and Time Machines” as the Mathematics and Computer Science Speakers Series presents Professor Ken Brakke Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. in Musser auditorium in Pfahler Hall.
Dr. Brakke’s research revolves around his Surface Evolver software, which is a program that models soap films and other liquid surfaces subject to various energies and constraints. He uses his Evolver for consulting work on subjects ranging from satellite fuel tanks in weightlessness to liquid solder shapes to high-altitude balloons. Dr. Brakke holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University and is currently Professor and Degenstein Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science at Susquehanna University.
Soap films are physically double layers of soap molecules with liquid between, which try to minimize their area. They can join three at a time along “triple lines,” and this makes them difficult to model mathematically. Dr. Brakke will present his own mathematical model of soap films, which turns out to have much in common with wormholes, stargates, and time machines. He will include live soap films, and computer demonstrations of how stargates and time machines really work.