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Release: Immediate

UI's Jon Simon selected to present math project at national science exhibit

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jonathan Simon, professor of mathematics in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts, was one of three mathematicians recently selected from across the nation by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) to present his research at the second annual Coalition for National Science Funding Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition, held April 30, consisted of about 40 exhibits of videos and posters representing the various sciences and was attended by members and staff of Congress, as well as National Science Foundation and JPBM officials. Simon's presentation on "Energy of Knots" was chosen by the American Mathematical Society to represent the field of "core mathematics" while offering compelling graphics and applications to DNA research.

Knot theory involves the everyday phenomena of tangling, as well as DNA and polymer studies. Also, there are significant mathematical and scientific applications.

"For example, molecular tangling and knotting affect the strength of polymers, and DNA knots have become a crucial laboratory assay for studying the enzymes that allow DNA recombination," Simon says.

Simon came to the UI in 1969 after earning his bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1964 and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1969. He was chairman of the computer science department from 1990-93 and now serves as associate chair in mathematics, directing the university's undergraduate program.