L. Mahadevan

2010 Laufer Lecture

Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University

Title: “On Growth and Form: Mathematics, Mechanics and Morphogenesis”


“The growth and form of a soft solid pose a range of problems that combine aspects of mathematics, physics and biology. I will discuss some examples of growth and form in the plant and animal world motivated by qualitative and quantitative biological observations at the molecular, cellular and tissue level. In each case, we will see how a combination of physical environments, mathematical models and complexity of biological form, while suggesting a rich new lode of problems in geometry and analysis.”

Professor L. Mahadevan received a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras in 1986; an M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987; and an M.S. (1992) and Ph.D. (1995) from Stanford University. Since 2003, he has been affiliated with Harvard University, where he is currently the De Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics. He served previously as an assistant and associate professor (1996-2000) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems (2001-2003) in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and a fellow of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He holds visiting professorships at the University of Oxford’s Mathematics Institute and the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India.