Mathematics & Computer Science Colloquium: October 12, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 20174:00PM - Thursday, October 12, 20175:00PM
At Ruffner 356

The Sound of Chaos

Speaker: Matt Morena
Christopher Newport University

Abstract: When a large amount of Halloween candy finds its way into a classroom of preschool students, the inevitable result is chaos.  But how would an applied mathematician define chaos?  Does the “Butterfly Effect” actually involve insects?  In this talk, I will formulate answers to these questions and then demonstrate that chaos control is much more than an oxymoron: it is a very real way to tame the unpredictability that characterizes this phenomenon.   In particular, we will see how to control a chaotic system to produce periodic orbits whose harmonic spectra contain the overtones that give musical instruments their distinctive qualities.  In other words, I will demonstrate how a chaotic system can be used to generate the periodic orbits that sound like a harpsichord or a banjo, while other orbits may be generated that share tonal qualities with an electric piano.  I will maintain the mathematical content of this talk at a level accessible for undergraduates.

Bio: Dr. Matthew (Matt) Morena is an assistant professor at Christopher Newport University.  He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire and a B.S. in Mathematics from Washington and Lee University.  In between, he has earned master's degrees from North Carolina State and from the University of Virginia.  His research interests are in nonlinear dynamical systems; his non-research interests are in being outside.

We meet for a social with the speaker from 3:30 to 4:00. Presentations are from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Ruffner 356. Please join us!


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