Excitation Waves in Capillaries, in Nature, and on Humans

Excitation Waves in Capillaries, in Nature, and on Humans

Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics


January 31, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Howey - School of Physics




Wooster College


Excitation waves are propagating spatiotemporal structures observed in many biological, chemical, and physical systems. They can be described as a reaction-diffusion (RD) wave in which an autocatalytic reaction zone propagates via diffusion without mass transport. More common types of RD waves are the propagation of an action potential in a nerve, the spread of electrical depolarization waves on the heart surface, the (human spectator) stadium wave, or a forest fire.

All RD systems can be described with one set of nonlinear differential equations and experimentally investigated with, for example, a chemical tabletop model system, the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction or with match sticks.

I will give an overview of this research field and present two projects which are also relevant to research in the Physics Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology.