Hermes Gadelha

Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol

The wiggly mathematical tale of the sperm tail and other fables

Fluids and Materials Seminar

21st May 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Fry Building, BlueJeans meeting

Breakthrough research into the mathematics of the sperm tail has profound implications for life itself, from human reproduction and male infertility to the left-right symmetry of organs in our body, including vital, though finite, ramifications for Brexit, the universe and everything else. In this talk, Brazilian-born Dr Hermes Bloomfield-Gadelha will attempt to brainwash the audience into thinking that fluid dynamics, elasticity and some exquisite Green’s functions will change your life (they won’t). After (aspiring) genius-level mathematical calculations, Gadelha will endeavour to show some predictive insights into the movement of this specialised microorganism, with little-to-no impact in real life. Connecting Alan Turing, Stokes, quantum theory, robots and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, this talk will recount the never-ending mathematical fables of the sperm tail.


Brazilian-born Dr Hermes Gadelha is a poly-disciplinary engineering mathematician working at the fertile union of mathematical logic, engineering, physics and medicine. He employs creative mathematics to nature, industry and the arts, focusing on novel questions and unexplained phenomena everywhere.

Hermes worked as a Research Fellow in Mathematics at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, before going back to Oxford as a Robert Hooke Research Fellow. He was also Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and the External Relations and Public Engagement Officer at the University of York. Today, Hermes is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and Data Modelling at the Department of Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol, and a mathematical fertility expert for the Science Media Centre (SMC), London, UK. Hermes was recently awarded the “Best of Bristol Lecturer Award” at the University of Bristol.

Hermes' research has generated international recognition, with countless worldwide media press releases and TV interviews, including BBC, Science, New Scientist and Discovery Channel and numerous research projects with industrial parties, governmental organizations and charities.

Organiser: Rachel Bennett

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