Scientific Computing for Movies and Beyond

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Light refreshments will be served before the lecture.

Simulations of virtual materials in movie special effects, as well as virtual surgery, require some applications of scientific computing for solid and fluid mechanics problems. Both movie special effects and virtual surgery demand physically realistic dynamics for things like water, smoke, fire, and soft tissues. For these, new algorithms are required. Joseph M. Teran will discuss the simulation techniques required and will share some recent results, such as:

  • simulated surgical repair of biomechanical soft tissues
  • extreme deformation of elastic objects with contact
  • high-resolution incompressible flow
  • clothing and hair dynamics

He will discuss the algorithm used to simulate the dynamics in the Disney animated film "Frozen."

About the Speaker

Joseph M. Teran is a professor of applied mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focus is numerical methods for partial differential equations arising in classical physics, including

  • computational solids and fluids
  • multi-material interactions
  • fracture dynamics
  • computational biomechanics

Exciting applications of his work arise in virtual surgery and movie special effects for Walt Disney Animation. 

Teran received a 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation and a 2010 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. In 2008, Discover Magazine named Teran one of the 50 "Best Brains in Science." 

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences. 


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Created: 08/14/2017
  • Modified By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Modified: 09/12/2017