Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Hugel 100
Dr. Tom Solomon

Please join the Physics Department in welcoming Dr. Tom Solomon from Bucknell University, who will be giving a talk entitled "Barriers that impede the motion of reaction fronts and swimming microbes in fluid flows".

The talk will be preceded by a Physics Tea from 4:00PM to 4:30PM in the Hugel lobby.

Abstract:  We present experiments on the effects of laminar flows on the spreading of the excitable Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical reaction and on the motion of swimming bacteria. The results of these experiments have applications for a wide range of systems including microfluidic chemical reactors, cellular-scale processes in biological systems, and blooms of phytoplankton in the oceans. To predict the behavior of reaction fronts, we adapt tools used to describe chaotic fluid mixing in laminar flows.In particular, we propose "burning invariant manifolds" (BIMs) that act as one-way barriers that locally block the motion of reaction fronts. These barriers are measured experimentally in a range of vortex-dominated 2- and 3-dimensional fluid flows. A similar theoretical approach predicts "swimming invariant manifolds" (SwIMs) that are one-way barriers the impede the motion of microbes in a flow. We are conducting experiments to test the existence of SwIMs for both wild-type and smooth swimming bacillus subtilus in hyperbolic and vortex-dominated fluid flow.  

Sponsored by: 
Physics Department

Contact information

Scott Shelley