Uk Chaos Expert to Discuss Â??patterns in the Sand’ and the Fundamentals of Physics at Colorado State’s Annual Public Magnus Lecture

Why does sand dry around your feet when you walk along a wet beach? This and other fundamental physics questions will be discussed and videos of spectacular effects in granular flows will be presented by world-renowned physicist Tom Mullin at Colorado State University’s 2003 Arne Magnus Lecture.

Mullin, professor of physics at the University of Manchester and director of the Manchester Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, will present "Patterns in the Sand: The Physics of Granular Flow" from 7-8:30 p.m. April 30 in the auditorium of Albert C. Yates Hall (formerly the Chemistry/Biosciences Building).

The lecture, designed for a general audience, will be followed by a community reception. Both events are free and open to the public.

"Dr. Mullin has a gift for communicating his subject, and his enthusiasm for it is infectious. He loves giving popular public lectures and is in great demand," said Michael Kirby, mathematics professor at Colorado State. "Colorado State and the Fort Collins communities are fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from and be entertained by such a renowned scholar."

Using modern mathematical ideas, Mullin began a search years ago that continues today – to understand the process of flow. His early groundbreaking work and original observations on chaos related to disordered motion in fluid flows brought him international recognition. After serving at Oxford University for nearly two decades, Mullin moved in 1996 to the University of Manchester and established the Manchester Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics.

Much of Mullin’s past and current research focuses on the problem of fluid flow.

"My main research activity today is concerned with the flow of complex materials and how modern mathematical ideas can be applied to laboratory and numerical experiments on them," said Mullin. "It is endlessly fascinating."

At the Manchester Centre, Mullin developed a 17-meter long pipe system for fluid flow, which is, in effect, the world’s biggest computer-controlled syringe.

"It will give us a completely new way of trying to solve the greatest problem in classical physics – why does liquid flowing through a pipe become turbulent?" said Mullin. "If we can solve that, we can control it and bring order to chaos."

Mullin, who earned a doctorate in physics from Edinburgh University in 1978, has received several awards and professional distinctions for his work, regularly presents invited lectures throughout the world and has gives many popular lectures on chaos and flow. Mullin has made several appearances on national television and radio discussing his research.

Wednesday’s presentation, hosted by the Department of Mathematics as part of the Spring 2002 Magnus Lecture Series, is sponsored by the Magnus Memorial Lecture Series Endowment and the Colorado State University Guest Scholar Program.

The Magnus Lectures are delivered annually at Colorado State in honor of former mathematics professor Arne Magnus. Each April since 1993, the mathematics department has invited outstanding researchers to campus to deliver a series of lectures for the general public as well as for professionals within mathematics and related fields.

For more information on the Magnus Lecture Series and Mullin’s presentation, call the mathematics department at (970) 491-1303.