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Biology and robotics work hand in hand, and claw to claw

Discover the math behind biologically-inspired robots at a free public event, on Wednesday, July 10, at 6:15 p.m. at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego.

San Diego, CA—Snails can move upside down, sideways, and backwards on almost any surface. Razor clams can dig and bury themselves in the sand with remarkable speed and agility. Swimming microorganisms are highly efficient molecular machines that rapidly propel themselves through dense fluids.

Nature might be the most innovative designer and engineer, with the world as a laboratory at its disposal. The amazing proficiency displayed by animals in crawling, swimming, flying, walking, and running—movements performed perfectly within the limits of the laws of physics—presents a natural observation ground for robotics and automation.

During a free public lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) on July 10 in San Diego, Professor Anette Hosoi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will discuss how these natural mechanisms can be used to guide engineering design and develop state-of-the-art robots.

Anette Hosoi receives the I.E. Block Community Lecture prize from SIAM President Irene Fonseca

The event is SIAM’s prestigious I.E. Block Community Lecture, given each year to encourage public appreciation of the excitement and vitality of applied mathematics. Named in honor of the former Managing Director of SIAM, the prize honors Dr. Edward Block’s contributions to the founding of SIAM.

In addition to providing insights into the development of novel robotic diggers and crawlers, the physical principles exploited by organisms such as snails and clams can help us understand the functions of such biological systems. Dr. Hosoi will explore the broad role of mathematics in the design, control, and assessment of unconventional robotic systems.

An associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, Dr. Hosoi specializes in free surface flows, surface tension, complex fluids, and fluid dynamics. Her research involves a unique mix of experimental work, numerical simulation, and theoretical analysis, combining elements of engineering design and mathematical optimization.  Dr. Hosoi’s work has played an influential role in guiding the engineering design of robotic swimmers, crawlers, burrowers, and other such mechanisms.

Come and listen to her talk about robotics inspired by biological movements in our dynamic world!

I. E. Block Community Lecture: From Razor Clams to Robots: The Mathematics Behind Biologically Inspired Design

Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 6:15–7:15 PM

Town and Country Room, Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California

A reception will follow the lecture in the Grand Plaza Fountain Court at the hotel.

Free and open to the public! This presentation can be enjoyed by anyone with a high school math background—no advanced mathematical background is necessary!

Please view details here. 

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About SIAM
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of over 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from 85 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at

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