Curve Shortening and Bicycle Tracks; Life as a math major at EPIC

November 4, 2013

Speakers: Sigurd Angenent; Renee Schuppener

Abstract: Dr. Sigurd Angenent will answer three old questions in his talk: Can you tell from a pair of bicycle tracks which is the front track, and which is the rear?  If you know the track of the front tire, can you draw that of the rear tire?  What about the other way around?

Also on Monday, Renee Schuppener will be speaking about life as a math major at Epic Corporation, a leading medical software company that regularly hires math majors.

More Information:

Curve Shortening describes a process where a plane curve moves in the direction of its curvature.  It’s a differential equation, but the thing that changes in time is a Curve instead of a Number.  How is this connected with questions about bicycle tracks?

Medical Imaging is the study of ways to process raw images produced by medical equipment (like MRI machines) so as to produce images that can be interpreted by (human) physicians.   Curve shortening is one of the mathematical constructs that are used in medical imaging.

This video shows an example of a solution of Curve Shortening:

Epic ( is a leading company that creates software for medium sized and large hospitals and medical groups. With 7000 employees they are located in Verona, right here in Dane county. EPIC regularly hires math majors. Renee Schuppener, who graduated in 2008 from UW Madison as a math major will tell us what life is like for a math major at Epic, and answer any questions you might have about life after graduation.

Free pizza will be served.

Where: 901 Van Vleck.