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01 Jul 2007 - 20 Apr 2022
About this capture

The Applied Math Lab
We are interested in the nonlinear and nonequilibrum behavior of living and nonliving matter in all its forms. We use a combination of techniques to pursue this, ranging from simple observations of phenomena to quantitative experiments and theory. Many of the topics that we work on start with our everyday experiences of the mundane, which by its very nature is robust. The challenge is to abstract out some principle from a phenomenon that is of relevance far beyond the particular manifestation of it. We also have a small laboratory for tinkering around.
Recent Publications
  • Nonequilibrium scale selection mechanism for columnar jointing
    L. Goehring L. Mahadevan, and S. Morris, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)106, 387, 2009.
  • Self-organization of a mesoscale bristle into ordered hierarchical helical assemblies
    B. Pokroy, S. Kang, L. Mahadevan, and J. Aizenberg, Science323, 237, 2009. 
  • Tissue Tectonics: morphogenetic strain rates, cell shape change and intercalation
    G. Blanchard, A. Kabla, L. Butler, B. Sanson, N. Gorfinkiel, L. Mahadevan and R. Adams, Nature Methods6(6), 458-64, 2009.
  • A generalized theory of viscous and inviscid flutter
    S. Mandre and L. MahadevanProceedings of the Royal Society of London (A), doi:10.1098/rspa.2009.0328, 2009.
  • The shape of a long leaf
    H. Liang and L. MahadevanProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), early edition, 2009.
  • Elasticity of floppy and stiff random networks
    M. Wyart, H. Liang, A. Kabla,and L. Mahadevan, Physical Review Letters, 101, 215501, 2008.
  • Limbless undulatory propulsion on land
    Z. Guo and L. Mahadevan, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 105, 3179, 2008.
  • Polymer science and biology: structure and dynamics at multiple scales
    L. Mahadevan, Faraday Discussions, 139, 9, 2008.
  • Sickle cell vaso-occlusion and rescue in a microfluidic device
    J. Higgins, D. Eddington, S. Bhatia and L. MahadevanProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)104, 20496, 2007. 
  • The universal dynamics of cell spreading
    D. Cuvelier, M. Thery, Y.-S. Chu, S. Dufour, J-P. Thiery, M. Bornens, P. Nassoy, and L. MahadevanCurrent Biology , 17, 694, 2007. 
  • Sensorimotor control during isothermal tracking in Caenorhabditis elegans 
    L. Luo, D.A. Clark, D. Biron, L. Mahadevan, and A.D.T.Samuel, The Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 4652-4662, 2006. 
  • Dynamics of surfactant-driven fracture of particle rafts
    D. Vella, H-Y Kim, P. Aussillous and L. MahadevanPhysical Review Letters, 96, 178301, 2006. 
  • Fluid-flow induced flutter of a flag
    M. Argentina and L. MahadevanProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)102, 1829-34, 2005.  
  • Self-organized origami
    L. Mahadevan and S. Rica, Science307, 1740, 2005.  
  • Physical limits and design principles for plant and fungal movements 
    J. Skotheim and L. MahadevanScience, 308, 1308-10, 2005. 

    all publications
Last Updated: January 12, 2010
Contact Information:
L. Mahadevan, Vitae:  
Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Affiliate Professor, Systems Biology (Harvard Medical School)
Pierce Hall 324
Harvard University
29 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Recent Press
Our work has inspired some recent articles, interviews, editorials and even a series of paintings. See below:
Video  - an interview on Youtube
Newspaper - in the Boston Globe: Meeting the Minds
Radio - on NPR with Robin Young in Here and Now
Profile - by Jon Shaw in Harvard Magazine  - The Physics of the Familiar
Paintings - see Jonathan Nix, who had a recent exhibition that included the Mahadevan Series
Interview - with Giselle Weiss in the Swiss newspaper NZZ, titled Das ratsel des zerknullten papiers
Article - by Prof. Gilbert Strang of MIT in SIAM News - "A remarkable eye for out-of-the-ordinary mathematics"
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