CRM: Centro De Giorgi
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Numerical Knots: Models and Simulations

8 June 2011 - 9 June 2011

This event is part of an intensive research period:
Knots and Applications.


Since its birth, knot theory has confronted the challenges of effective representation and recognition of distinct knot types and the efficient simplification of knot representations. Now, knots endowed with physical properties of length, curvature, torsion, and thickness define spaces of such configurations whose knot types are largely unknown. Knots and other forms of entanglement occur in single polymers and in large collections, in DNA, in bacteria, in proteins, in melts and in solution. What proportion consists of knots of a given topological or physical type? What are the biological or physical implications of the structure? Are there “ideal” or “average” conformations? In addition, given an appropriate definition of knotting of “open” curves, these same questions arise in this new context.

While there has been theoretical progress on some of these problems, at least in some contexts, in many cases numerical methods have been essential to gain insight if not provide answers. In this workshop we will focus on modeling open and closed chains in a variety of biological and physical contexts, on the analysis of the topological, geometric, and other properties of the modeled chains. Examples include lattice models, wormlike chains, ideal knots, shape and scale of knotting, localization, constrained environments, and knot energies with applications to DNA, proteins, viral capsids and polymer melts.

This event is part of the 3-month intensive research period program on “Knots and Applications”, that takes place at the Centro di Ricerca Matematica "Ennio De Giorgi" of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy, and that is organised in collaboration with INdAM:

Plenary Speakers

Jason Cantarella, UG, Athens, USA
Cristian Micheletti, SISSA, Trieste, IT
Enzo Orlandini, INFN, IT
Eric Rawdon, STU, St. Paul, USA
Rob Scharein, SFSU, San Francisco, USA
Doros Theodorou, NTUA, Athens, GR
Mariel Vazquez, SFSU, San Francisco, USA
Peter Virnau, UM, Mainz, DE

Short Talks

Eleni Panagioutou, NTUA, Athens, GR
Luca Tubiana, SISSA, Trieste, IT
Christos Tzoumanekas*, NTUA, Athens, GR
Guillaume Witz*, EPFL, Lausanne, CH

Thematic Workshop Conveners

Ken Millett
Eric Rawdon
Rob Scharein


All prospective participants and attendees are kindly requested to register here before 3 June, 2011.

Financial Support

Prospective participants should seek grant/university support towards travel expenses from local sources. Limited funding towards participant local expenses may be provided by CRM and INdAM upon application.

Request of Financial Support

Qualified junior participants and prospective attendees are invited to submit their request of financial support towards local expenses by sending their CV and list of publications to, before 13 March, 2011.


Publicize this Event: Please notify this event in your Department/Research Unit by downloading and posting the attached poster; please click here to download it.


All lectures, oral contributions and posters will be held in the lecture room Aula Dini (via del Castelletto 11 Pisa) that is at only 2 minutes walk from Centro De Giorgi.

Practical information

How to Get There: From outside Pisa to CRM, read the instructions here

Shopping times and holidays

Typical shopping times are 8:30-12:30 and 15:30-19:30. National holidays: 1 May, 2 June, 17 June