Physics of Strings

CAAM 499/699 · VIGRE Seminar

Fall 2005 · Rice University

Tuesday 4-5pm, Duncan Hall 3132

Steve Cox and Mark Embree


How do strings vibrate and what forces slow them? How can one still a vibrating body as quickly as possible? Can one deduce material properties of a body from measurements of its vibrations?

We shall explore these questions in the Physics of Strings seminar. Participants will develop skills in:

  • mathematical modeling (the development of partial differential equations that describe elastic and viscoelastic strings and twisted strings, with applications in acoustics and DNA);
  • numerical analysis (high-precision spectral methods for solving differential equations, and tools from numerical linear algebra);
  • functional analysis (analysis of the spectra and pseudospectra of string models);
  • the interplay between mathematics and physical experiment (using equipment in our burgeoning string laboratory).
Participants will benefit from a background in CAAM 335/336, or MATH 355/381, or the equivalent.

Any student with a disability requiring accommodation in this course is encouraged
to contact the instructor during the first week of class, and also to contact
Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.