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CNA Seminar/Colloquium/Joint Pitt-CNA Colloquium
Arghir Dani Zarnescu
Oxford
Title: Mathematical problems of the Q-tensor theory of liquid crystals

Abstract: The challenge of modeling the complexity of nematic liquid crystals through a model that is both comprehensive and simple enough to manipulate efficiently has led to the existence of several major competing theories.

One of the most popular (among physicists) theories was proposed by Pierre Gilles de Gennes in the 70s and was a major reason for awarding him a Nobel prize in 1991. The theory models liquid crystals as functions defined on a two or three dimensional domains with values in the space of Q-tensors (that is symmetric, traceless, three-by-three matrices).

Despite its popularity with physicists the theory has received little attention from mathematicians until a few years ago when John Ball initiated its study. Nowadays it is a fast developing area, combining in a fascinating manner topological, geometrical and analytical aspects. The aim of this talk is to survey this development.

Recording: http://vnc.math.cmu.edu/cna/CNA-Zarnescu-Mar-22-2011.avi
Pdf File: Zarnescu2011.pdf
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Wean Hall 7218
Submitted by:  Gautam Iyer