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Elisabetta Matsumoto Is 2020 Cottrell Scholar for Research on the Math and Science Behind Knitting

Thursday, March 5, 2020

An assistant professor in the School of Physics is a 2020 Cottrell Scholar, thanks to her efforts to stitch together her two passions: science and knitting.

Elisabetta Matsumoto, who has been at Georgia Tech since 2016, is one of 25 new Cottrell Scholars Award winners announced by the private Resource Corporation for Science Advancement. According to their website, the awards honor and help to develop “outstanding teacher-scholars who are recognized by their scientific communities for the quality and innovation of their research programs and their potential for academic leadership.” The winners study in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and astronomy, and each recipient receives $100,000.

“I was so excited when I heard about the Cottrell Scholar award,” Matsumoto says. “I’ve known about it for a very long time as many of my friends and physicists I look up to have gotten it over the years. I love the idea that it’s a community of teacher-scholars that promotes a holistic sense of education and research. These colleagues are ones with whom I will be able to work on educational initiatives and get support and mentorship in my research areas.”

Matsumoto won the Cottrell Scholar Award for her proposal, “Knotty Knits: Using Topological Constraints to Program Geometry and Elastic Response in Knitted Textiles with Lattice Defects.” The proposal stems from her National Science Foundation-funded grant entitled “What A Tangled Web We Weave,” a five-year project in which Matsumoto is researching the mathematics, physics, and engineering of knitting.

In May 2019, The New York Times published a story highlighting Matsumoto’s yarn-based research. The story was inspired by her presentation, “Twisted Topological Tangles,” at the American Physical Society’s annual meeting in March of that year. The headline for the story incorporated a quote from Matsumoto: “‘Knitting is Coding,’ and Yarn is Programmable in this Physics Lab.”

The New York Times article was really momentous for our group,” Matsumoto says. “We have received words of excitement and encouragement from all across the globe! I think it has really captured people’s imaginations. I think it’s a boost to [graduate students] Mike Dimitriyev, Shashank Markande and Krishma Singal who have worked so hard on bringing this project to fruition. I’m really happy to see so many people appreciating their hard work.”

Matsumoto, who has been knitting since she was a child, is the principal investigator of Georgia Tech’s Matsumoto Group, which explores the geometry of materials. A paragraph on her lab’s website explains her fascination with knitting as physics, along with the possible practical applications of her research:

Spinning and weaving were some of the first technologies developed by man. These historical inventions continue to influence daily life, yet only at an empirical level do we understand the remarkable physical and material properties they can achieve. Spinning simply adds twist to fibers, vastly increasing tensile strength while maintaining flexibility. Weaving and knitting use single threads to generate durable yet pliant two-dimensional surfaces…Building upon microscopic properties of the thread, from twist to chemistry to friction, my group will seek a set of local rules that control the global behavior of fabrics. Such a constitutive model will develop an understanding of the full range of fabric deformations, crucial for such applications as mechanoresponsive garments to biocompatible weaves and networks used in tissue engineering. Beyond technological advances, such a model will shed light on fundamental questions, such as polymer entanglement or the mechanical properties of biological tissue and networks.

Matsumoto has also used virtual reality in her research into topology, which is the study of surfaces that can be bent, curved, twisted or otherwise deformed, but never broken or torn. As her website describes, Matsumoto and her fellow researchers study the geometry and topology of soft materials.

“I will be continuing my work on using virtual reality as an educational tool in physics and mathematics education. This type of environment [the Cottrell Scholars] is so beneficial to the community because it helps us to communicate best practices for education and new educational initiatives,” Matsumoto says.

Previous Georgia Tech recipients of the Cottrell Scholar Award include David Collard of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, along with Michael Schatz and Tamara Bogdanović, both of the School of Physics.

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209
 

Summary: 

Elisabetta Matsumoto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, is a 2020 Cotrell Scholar thanks to her research on the mathematics and physics hidden in the knots and weaves of knitting.

Intro: 

Elisabetta Matsumoto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, is a 2020 Cotrell Scholar thanks to her research on the mathematics and physics hidden in the knots and weaves of knitting.

Alumni: 

Nonlinear Science Seminar & Webinar

Abstract

Suppose you find yourself face-to-face with Young-Mills or

Navier-Stokes or a nonlinear PDE or a funky metamaterial or a

cloudy day. And you ask yourself, is this thing "turbulent"? What

does that even mean?

 

If you were ever taught 'chaos', you must have learned about the

coin toss (Bernoulli map). I'll walk you through this basic example

of deterministic chaos, than through the 'kicked rotor', a neat

physical system that is  chaotic, and then put infinity of

Triple Major Daniel Gurevich Represents Georgia Tech with Top USG Academic Honor

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What's it like to work on three bachelor’s degrees at once? For Daniel Gurevich, it's a balance of hard work, gratitude, connecting the dots across distant scientific fields, and setting aside time to connect with fellow students — and chessplayers.

Gurevich, who has already won a raft of academic achievement awards while at Georgia Tech, is one of 26 winners of the 2020 University System of Georgia (USG) Academic Recognition Day Award for his progress in completing bachelor degrees in the Schools of Physics, Mathematics, and Industrial & Systems Engineering. Gurevich is the only Georgia Tech student recognized for the award.

A candidate for May 2020 graduation, Gurevich has already published four papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and aspects of his research have been presented at conferences in Germany, Spain, France, Utah, and Colorado.

As if all that isn’t enough to keep an ambitious student busy, Gurevich is also an International Master in chess. He started pitting pawns and bishops against each other at age 5 and won his first national title at age 6. He’s twice conquered the SuperNationals, an all-star-style tournament of the top U.S. players in grades K-12 that’s held every four years. After he won the Georgia State Championship in 2015, he became an International Master.

A cherished memory for Gurevich? Meeting chess legend Garry Kasparov at age 11. “I had made it to the top board of the elementary school championship and Kasparov was making my ceremonial first move,” he remembers. “It was very inspiring to have the chance to talk to my chess idol so early in my chess career, and I ended up winning both of my games the next day and became the national champion.”

Gurevich, who was nominated by both the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering for the Academic Recognition Day Award, is also a National Merit Scholar and a National AP Scholar. He attended Georgia Tech as a President’s Gold Scholar. During his time at the Institute, he received the Presidential Undergraduate Research Award (PURA), the College of Sciences’ Roger M. Wartell and Stephen E. Brossette Award for Multidisciplinary Studies in Biology, the A. Joyce Nickelson and John C. Sutherland Undergraduate Research Award, the School of Physics’ Letson Undergraduate Research Scholarship, and the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience’s Petit Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

“Getting this award was wonderful and unexpected news," Gurevich says. “It really means a lot to me to have been selected out of so many outstanding students at Georgia Tech, and I am very honored to have the results of my hard work recognized. I'm grateful for all of the support I have received from the Georgia Tech community, particularly my professors and advisors.”

Gurevich has also tried to pass along his love of chess to younger students. He co-founded Chess Advantage, which provides after-school chess instruction and private coaching in the greater Atlanta area. He also wrote the Q&A column in Chess Life Kids, the publication of the United States Chess Federation (US Chess) for age 12 and under, which has more than 10,000 subscribers.

Gurevich, who is set to graduate in May 2020, will pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics in the fall. “My goal is to teach and perform research as a professor, looking for new ways to use mathematical tools to advance our understanding of fields like physics and biology. My education at Georgia Tech has given me the opportunity to acquire a very broad skill set that is extremely valuable for an academic career. I have always appreciated how math helps us find connections between seemingly distant scientific areas.”

From the USG website:

Academic Recognition Day began 32 years ago as a celebration of Georgia students’ academic achievement. Each of the system’s institutions selected a student with a 4.0 GPA who also reflects the system’s best qualities. They aim to strive for excellence and have the ability to share knowledge in various areas of expertise.The honorees receive a resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives along with a letter of commendation from USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley.

 

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Daniel Gurevich's 2020 is off to a great start. Gurevich is the recipient of a University System of Georgia's Academic Recognition Day Award for his work on completing bachelors degrees in three majors: mathematics, physics, and industrial and systems engineering. The May candidate for graduation is also an international chess master.

Intro: 

Daniel Gurevich's 2020 is off to a great start. Gurevich is the recipient of a University System of Georgia's Academic Recognition Day Award for his work on completing bachelors degrees in three majors: mathematics, physics, and industrial and systems engineering. The May candidate for graduation is also an international chess master.

Alumni: 

Center for Relativistic Astrophysics (CRA) - Prof. Katherine Rawlins

With energies greater than a PeV, cosmic rays from galactic (and extra-galactic) sources are too rare to detect directly.  Instead, large ground-based detector arrays catch the secondary particles from the extensive air showers that cosmic rays produce in the atmosphere, and attempt to determine indirectly the underlying spectrum and mass composition.  The IceCube Observatory has a surface detector called IceTop, which can help to answer these questions... questions which are linked to the mystery of these particles' origin.

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