Introducing B21 Scholar: Mathilde Papillon


My name is Mathilde Papillon and I am a U1 honours physics student who loves to dance. Here is a little bit about my research project!

In physics, the Lagrangian is this wonderful quantity that, by simple subtraction of kinetic and potential energy, can tell us everything we need to know about the motion of a system (see for the mathy definition). However, it is quite abstract and hard to visualize.

My project aims to help us gain physical intuition of this quantity by using dance to model it in motion. To do so, I plan on using recently developed algorithms quantifying the 4 characteristics of motion as defined by Laban in his well-known taxonomy of dance (see for the algorithms).

Setting these algorithms in a matrix, I will solve for the mystery vector (A and B below) that produces kinetic energy and potential energy (in the right units!) of the motion. I would then like to model how these quantities change as a dancer moves through spacetime.


If this works, we could dance any system in the universe.

David Jhave Johnston