Theseus in the Labyrinth

Theseus in the Labyrinth

Postgraduate colloquium, University College London, March 2016

Theseus and Ariadne

Thus Pasiphae gave birth to Asterion, the minotaur, and Daedalus constructed the labyrinth to imprison him.  And every year (or nine, depending on the teller), the Athenians, defeated by King Minos in revenge for the death of his son, would have to send seven young men and seven young women as food for the beast.  Until Theseus, son of King Aegeus, Aethra and the god Poseidon, entered the labyrinth.

In 1904, Ludwig Prandtl threw open the door to an age of tremendous advances in our understanding of fluid flow and unwittingly constructed the maze, which has been filled with “innumerable paths with windings” [Ovid] by researchers since.  With the string given to us by the beautiful Ariadne, and armed with dynamic roughnesses, we will enter the labyrinth to seek out our minotaur—the phenomenon of flow separation—and discover its fate.