Who does not know the phenomenon of a curling telephone cord? Until now, only closed rods were described mathematically. CWI's PhD student Bob Planqué studied the behaviour of a curling rope with open ends by analyzing its energy minima. Since in nature rods cannot self-intersect, the problem is very complex. Therefore, Planqué and his promotor Mark Peletier of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) looked at the special case of a rod on a cylinder. It seemed that - although the rope is lying along itself - forces are only transferred in certain separate points. Planqué also studied the mathematically related problem of the formation of membranes from lipid molecules. This research opens the way for the description of more complex situations, like DNA molecules. Planqué received his PhD degree on April 7 at the TU/e. At the moment, he works in Bristol as a post-doc researcher studying the mathematics of ant behaviour.
More information can be found on Bob Planqué's PhD thesis website