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Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday, November 12, 2020
11:00am to 12:00pm
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Online Event
Enjoyable, Knotty Problems on Shoestrings
Oliver O'Reilly, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley,

*Connection details for this online presentation will be posted when available.

The accidental untying of a shoelace while walking often occurs without warning. Modeling and simulating the unraveling in order to discover the cause of the untying is an exceptionally difficult task in part because of the wide range of length scales, time scales and parameters. Finding external funding to examine the problem, like so many other everyday puzzles, is arguably an even harder problem. 

In this talk, I will discuss a wide range of problems from everyday life that illustrate the remarkable insights mechanics provides. These problems range from the mechanisms for accidental shoelace knot failure to the curious dynamics of Littlewood's hoop and BB-8 and the mechanics of cooking spaghetti. 

This talk is primarily based on recent research performed with a number of collaborators including Prithvi Akella, Antonio Bronars, Christopher Daily-Diamond, Nathaniel Goldberg, and Christine Gregg.

For more information, please contact Mikaela Laite by phone at (626) 395-4128 or by email at mlaite@caltech.edu.