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Physics Colloquium: Fascinating flows and emergent mechanics in simple marine animals (Prof. Prakash, UM)

This is a past event.

Friday, September 17 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm

PG6 - Tech Station, 112
11200 SW 8th ST 33199, PG6 - Tech Station, Miami, Florida 33199

Abstract: Animals are characterized by their movement, and their tissues are continuously subjected to dynamic force loading. Tissue mechanics determines the ecological niches that can be endured by a living organism. In the first part of my talk, I will present our surprising discovery of motility-induced tissue fractures and healing in a simple, early divergent marine animal - the Trichoplax adhaerens. I will demonstrate how fracture mechanics governs dramatic shape changes and asexual reproduction in this animal. In the second part of my talk, I will focus on the role of fluid mechanics in marine invertebrates. In starfish larvae, we discovered that ciliary arrays give rise to a beautiful pattern of slowly evolving vortices which determine a physical tradeoff between feeding and swimming.

Short Bio: Prof. Vivek Prakash is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, and a secondary faculty in the Departments of Biology, and Marine Biology & Ecology at the University of Miami. His research at the interface of Physics and Biology is driven by a sense of curiosity, fascination and discovery. Previously, he carried out postdoctoral research in Biomechanics at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. He obtained his master’s and undergraduate degrees in Engineering Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering in India. For more information, visit:

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