Spatiotemporal Dynamics and Pattern
with Examples from Physics,
Chemistry, Biology, and Engineering
Place and Times
Office: Howey W502 (office hours: TBA)
Phone: (404) 385-1130
Most macroscopic structures or patterns we see around us (clouds, ocean waves, sand dunes, zebra stripes, contraction waves of the heart muscle) arise as a result of competition between external driving and internal dissipation. Although the nature of pattern forming systems can be very different, essentially all of them possess a number of universal traits, which allows a unified treatment of their dynamics. This course will develop a general theory of pattern formation in physical, chemical, and biological systems using stability theory, perturbation theory, and symmetry analysis.
This is a graduate level course intended for math, science and engineering
students. Good knowledge of partial and ordinary differential equations and
linear algebra is the main prerequisite.
The main textbook is
There are a few other good books that have a somewhat narrower focus:
- Michael Cross and Henry Greenside, Pattern Formation and Dynamics in
Nonequilibrium Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
There is also a collection of review articles on this subject:
- Paul Manneville, Dissipative structures and weak turbulence
(Academic Press, 1990)
- Daniel Walgraef, Spatio-Temporal Pattern Formation: With Examples from
Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Science (Springer-Verlag, 1997).
- James Murray, Mathematical Biology, Vol. 2 (Springer-Verlag, 2002).
- Cross and Hohenberg, Pattern formation outside of equilibrium,
Reviews of Modern Physics 65, 851 (1993).
- Koch and Meinhardt, Biological pattern formation: from basic mechanisms
to complex structures, Reviews of Modern Physics 66, 1481 (1994).
- Merzhanov and Rumanov, Physics of reaction waves, Reviews of Modern
- Aranson and Kramer, The world of the complex Ginzburg-Landau equation,
Reviews of Modern Physics 74, 99 (2002).
There will be two exams (a mid-term and a final). The grades will be based on the homeworks (10%) and the exams (midterm 40%, final 50%). Homework assignments will be posted on the web every Thursday and will be due next Thursday in class. In general you are expected to comply with the academic honor code.
Grading scale: A = 80-100%, B = 70-80%, C = 60-70%, D = 50-60%, F = 0-50%
1. Patterns in nature and in the lab
Midterm (due 02/28/19)
2. Linear stability analysis
3. Applications of linear stability analysis
4. Patterns and symmetry
- Matlab simulation:
saturation of the stripe amplitude in the Swift-Hohenberg equation
5. Secondary instabilities
6. Amplitude equations
7. Traveling waves and fronts
Click here for the instructions and here for solutions.
Final (due 4/30/19 in W502)
Click here to download the assignment and here for solutions.
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