Building polyhedra by self-assembly
Govind Menon, Brown

Abstract: A fascinating trend in materials science is the use of biology to inspire technology. This talk explores one aspect of this theme: the self-assembly of simple shapes in analogy with the formation of simple viruses, such as MS2. While our work was initially driven by the immediate demands of a lab (how best to build polyhedra by "self-folding"), it has now evolved to a point where there are hints of deeper structure and interesting mathematics (e.g. large combinatorial "assembly" graphs constructed by geometric rules, brownian motion on algebraic varieties in high dimensions). I will explain how we were led to these ideas, without presuming any background knowledge.This work is in collaboration with David Gracias' lab (Johns Hopkins University).