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Lecturer to Compare Soap Bubbles and Time Machines

Published on April 15, 2011


Ken Brakke, recipient of the John C. Horn Distinguished Service AwardSELINSGROVE—Ken Brakke, professor of mathematical sciences at Susquehanna University, will discuss “Soap Films and Time Machines” as the recipient of the John C. Horn Distinguished Service Award, April 27 at 4:15 p.m. in Isaacs Auditorium, in the university’s Seibert Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. 

A mathematician, or more accurately, a geometer, Brakke conducts research on surface properties of soap film and bubbles. His lecture will use a program he developed, Surface Evolver, to examine similarities between the mathematics of soap film and those behind star gates, gateways between different universes that bridge time and space.

Brakke’s Surface Evolver has hundreds of users around the world and is in continuing development. It has been used for consulting work on subjects ranging from sat­ellite fuel tanks in weightless environments, to liquid-solder shapes, to high-altitude balloons. It also played a role in the Beijing Olympics in the design of the National Aquatics Center, or Water Cube.

Brakke earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and joined the Susquehanna University faculty in 1983.

The John C. Horn Distinguished Service Award was established in 1979 by the university’s board of directors to honor the late John C. Horn, who served as board chair from 1962 to 1978, and to recognize outstanding faculty scholarship and service. The award is determined by open nominations from the faculty.

Karen M. Jones

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