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Mechanics meets biology

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Unlike an ordinary gas, biological systems are never in equilibrium: cells constantly use chemical energy to grow and move, forming a clear arrow of time. The recent creation of artificial versions of these ‘active’ systems raises the tantalising prospect of soft robotic systems fuelled by as simple a source as oxygen. After a tour through the mathematics of elastic networks, marrying linear algebra, graph theory and dynamics and invoking plenty of tenuous Trinity connections, we will see how endowing such a network with biologically-inspired activity can create intricate self-actuating mechanisms.

This talk is part of the Trinity Mathematical Society series.

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