[CvGmt News] colloquium

buttazzo at dm.unipi.it buttazzo at dm.unipi.it
Tue Dec 9 17:48:47 CET 2008



16:00-18:00, Aula Magna (Dip. Matematica)
"Convex sets of constant width, or why geometry can be of vital importance"
Bernd Kawohl (Universitat Koln)

Abstract: When does a steel pipe have an exactly circular cross section?
When features constant exterior width from each angle? That could easily by 
verified with a big caliper or slide gauge, and this what used to happen in 
process of assembling booster rockets for the spaces shuttle. The authors of 
corresponding instructions had overlooked that there are geometric shapes, so
called sets of constant width, that are not circles. This was a contributing 
factor to the Challenger desaster in 1986. In my talk I will point out that 
these odd sets show up in our daily life, and that there are interesting 
mathematical questions connected with them. The talk is directed at a general
audience, not just mathematicians.

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