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Science and Mathematics

Physics Colloquium: Narayanan Menon

March 28, 2024 at 3:30pm4:45pm EDT

Physics Building, PB 202/204

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The Syracuse University Department of Physics is pleased to welcome Dr. Narayanan Menon, condensed matter experimentalist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Narayanan Menon is a condensed matter experimentalist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His undergraduate degree is from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he did susceptibility measurements on supercooled liquids near the glass transition. After a postdoctoral position at UCLA where he learned light-scattering, he started his faculty career at UMass. Menon’s laboratory works on the statistical physics of nonequilibrium systems. Recent research in his group has centered on driven and ‘active’ granular materials, the mechanics of flexible sheets and filaments, particularly at fluid interfaces, and the collective physics of sedimentation.

“Thinking about sinking: the settling of shaped solids”


The gravitational settling of particles in a viscous fluid is a common process in nature and in industrial contexts. This familiar process is a confounding problem in many-body physics due to the long-range, directional interactions between sinking particles. After discussing some known facts and known puzzles in the field, Dr. Menon will present results that show qualitatively new behavior when the particles have non-trivial shape and orientational degrees of freedom, as do snowflakes, plankton, crystals and other natural sediment. As examples of the richness that emerges from shape, he will discuss unusual phenomena in the sedimentation of individual polar and polygonal objects, of pairs of apolar and polar objects, and of a one-dimensional lattice of apolar discs. Finally, he will discuss new results on sedimentation of suspensions of discs and rods at finite density

This event was first published on March 11, 2024 and last updated on March 13, 2024.

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