Getting to the root of the problem: using maths to feed the world A talk by Dr Rosemary Dyson (School of Mathematics, University of Birmingham)
It may not always seem like it, but plants can undergo incredible shape changes and movement, from leaves following the sun through the course of a day, to the Venus flytrap catching its prey, to trees growing over 100m tall. Since plant cells cannot move relative to one another, these shape changes at the level of a plant require tightly coordinated changes across multiple individual cells. If we want to understand, and hence control, these shape changes (for example to make a crop grow better under drought or flood conditions) we need to understand how a single cell can manipulate the mechanical properties of its cell wall, what those properties tell us how an individual cell grows, and what that in turn tells us about how lots of cells tightly stuck together (i.e. the whole plant) behave. This is where mathematical modelling comes in!
We will discuss the maths behind this complex problem, giving insight into the surprisingly wide variety of questions mathematics can be used to answer.
No charge is made to attend meetings; non-IMA members are welcome.
On-Campus parking is free after 4:30pm – Main Visitor Car Park (Hugh Stewart Hall)
The talk is coordinated by East Midlands Branch Secretary, Dr Stephen Hibberd