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WID-DOW Seminar: Nick Trefethen

Event Details

When: April 30, 2015, 12:00 PM


Contact: 608-316-4401, hstampfli@wisc.edu

Nick Trefethen

Nick Trefethen

Mathematics of the Faraday Cage

Everybody has heard of the Faraday cage effect, in which a wire mesh does a good job of blocking electric fields an electromagnetic waves. Surely the mathematics of such a famous and useful phenomenon has been long ago worked out and written up  in the textbooks? It seems to be not so, and indeed, one of the few treatments to be found in the textbooks, by Feynman, is incorrect. The shielding effect turns out to be not as simple as one might expect: it depends on the wires having finite radius. Nor is it as strong as one might imagine: it improves only linearly as thewire spacing decreases. This talk will present results on electrostatic Faraday shielding by Jon Chapman, Dave Hewett and myself, to appear in SIAM Review. Mathematically, this is a problem of harmonic measure. Physically, Faraday shielding cage can be regarded an electrostatic induction by a surface of limited capacitance.

Since optimization spans every discipline, the subject of each WID-DOW (Wisconsin Institute for Discovery- Doing Optimization at WISCONSIN) seminar may include such diverse topics as optimizing traffic flow or power storage or improving a bioenergy source. The WID-DOW seminar speakers are UW faculty and visiting professors that discuss an optimization application or how optimization impacts their research.

Speaker: Nick Trefethen, Professor of Numerical Analysis & Head of Analysis Group at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford