Lancaster skyline

Rigidity, Flexibility and Applications

LMS Research School on Knowledge Exchange

Lancaster; 19-23 July 2021

Organisers: Dr Bernd Schulze and Professor David Leslie (Lancaster University)

The mathematical theory of rigidity and flexibility has a rich history and dates back at least to Euler’s conjecture on the rigidity of polyhedra in 1766 and Maxwell’s studies of mechanical linkages, trusses, and other engineering structures in the 19th century. Mathematically, the field sits at the nexus of combinatorics, geometry and algebra.

The purpose of this Research School on Knowledge Exchange is to introduce talented young scientists to the increasingly active research area of rigidity and flexibility and to enable them to produce excellent mathematical and inter-disciplinary research in this area.


The Research School will feature the following 4 mini-courses:

  • ‘Geometric rigidity’ taught by Louis Theran (St. Andrews)
  • ‘Statistical mechanics and sphere packings’ taught by Miranda Holmes-Cerfon (NYU)
  • ‘Topology of linkages’ taught by Michael Farber (Queen Mary)
  • ‘Applications of rigidity to soft matter physics’ taught by Silke Henkes (Bristol)

There will be three plenary talks by members of the Statistics Section of Lancaster University. Idris Eckley will explain how to build strategic partnerships to support research programmes; Rebecca Killick will talk about the benefits of collaboration in early career research; and David Leslie will talk about the national KE landscape (based on learnings from the Bond review).

In addition, Andea Liu (Pennsylvania) will speak about the design of functional materials by exploiting the malleability of disorder, and John Owen (SIEMENS UK) will speak about applications of rigidity-based methods to the development of CAD software.


Registration is now open and will close by Friday 2 April 2021. Research students, post-docs and those working in industry are invited to apply.

You may register for the school directly via the following online application form:

As part of the application process, each applicant is asked to provide details of a referee who can provide a reference to support their application. Please use the following referee form for this:

Registration Fees

  • Research students: £50 (no charge for subsistence costs).
  • Early career researchers*: £250 (no charge for subsistence costs).
  • Other participants: £250 (plus subsistence costs).

* defined as within five years of completing their PhD (excluding career breaks).

Fees are not payable until a place at the Research School on Knowledge Exchange is offered but will be due before the Research School on Knowledge Exchange.

Financial Support

Limited need-based financial support is available for participants.

For UK-based mathematicians with caring duties the LMS has a Caring Supplementary Grant scheme which allows participants to apply for help covering caring costs.

Contact and Travel

The University provides information on travelling to Lancaster here.