MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #81

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2009 Presentation #81 (Thuesday, Febuary 24, 2009)

Professor Terry Jo Leiterman, St. Norbert College

"How We Roll: The Theory and Construction of a Square Wheeled Bicycle"

Abstract: In this talk, we'll discuss the history of the square wheel bicycle and develop a differential equation that describes the road required for the smooth motion of the wheel. The resulting solution for the road is given by a catenary curve. As part of the Math Modeling course at St. Norbert College, twelve students collectively built a square wheel bicycle and the required road in Fall 2007. During this talk, the bike will be on site and rode ... smoothly! (Check out:

Biography: Terry Jo Leiterman completed her Ph.D. in 2006 at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) after finishing an undergraduate degree at The University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. Her research interests lie in the area of applied mathematics, with emphasis on fluid dynamics and mathematical modeling in the sciences. Leiterman's current scholarship is varied, yet a major component focuses on modeling the motion of a slender body in a viscous fuild. This work has been used to benchmark nano-scale experiments involving cilia and contribute to the Virtual Lung Project at UNC. The goal of this project is to develop effective therapies for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis.


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