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Woden Kusner, University of Georgia, Measuring chirality with the wind

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April 8 | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

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The question of measuring “handedness” is of some significance in both mathematics and in the real world. Propellors and screws, proteins and DNA, in fact *almost everything* is chiral.  Can we quantify chirality?  Or can we perhaps answer the question:

 “Are your shoes more left-or-right handed than a potato?”

We can begin with the hydrodynamic principle that chiral objects rotate when placed in a collimated flow (or wind). This intuition naturally leads to a trace-free tensorial chirality measure for space curves and surfaces, with a clear physical interpretation measuring twist. As a consequence, the “average handedness” of an object with respect to this measure will always be 0.  This also strongly suggests that a posited construction of Lord Kelvin–the isotropic helicoid–does not exist.  This is joint with Giovanni Dietler, Rob Kusner, Eric Rawdon and Piotr Szymczak

Organizer: P. McGrath



April 8

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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