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The American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) jointly held a Congressional Briefing entitled “From the Color of Birds to Nanomaterials and New Technology” on December 4, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The briefing was given by Dr. Rodolfo H. Torres, University of Kansas (KU), who presented his collaborative work in the study of the anatomy and nanostructure of structurally colored tissues of living organisms, and to the analysis of the physical and mathematical modeling of the optical phenomena that produce such coloration.

Like a prism that decomposes a beam of light into a rainbow of colors, Fourier analysis transforms the geometrical arrangements observed in electron microscope images of tissues of living organisms into a mathematical rainbow of basic components. This "decoding/decomposing" process both deciphers and quantifies order and explains the coloration of nanostructured biological tissues. The research has explained the origin of the blue and green colors of birds and other animals and revealed the existence of intricate photonic crystal structures. These astonishing structures provide inspiration for research involving nanomaterials and has led scientists to new technologies in the fabrication of materials of highly saturated colors, adaptive camouflage properties, and efficient photovoltaic attributes with many applications.

Torres also used his presentation to illustrate how theoretical discoveries sometimes lead to applied and even translational research and technologies not originally envisioned, and how important is to support mathematical and fundamental research.

See video interview with Dr. Rodolfo Torres and highlights from the briefing **here**

*Rodolfo H. Torres is a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at KU, where he has also served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and as President of KU Center for Research Inc. He was named Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in the society's inaugural class.*

*Beginning in 2017, the AMS is partnering with MSRI to organize and host bi-annual briefings; prior to 2017, the AMS hosted annual briefings.*

- June 2019,
*"Addressing Threats and Vulnerabilities in Critical Interconnected Systems: Common Principles in Disease Outbreaks, Internet Malware, and Bank Failures"*presented by Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University. - December 2018,
*"From the Color of Birds to Nanomaterials and New Technology"*presented by Rodolfo Torres, University of Kansas. - May 2018,
*"Origami Meets Math, Science, and Engineering"*presented by Erik Demaine, MIT. - December 2017,
*"Cryptography: How to Enable Privacy in a Data-Driven World"*presented by Dr. Shafi Goldwasser, MIT. - June 2017,
*"Blackboard to bedside: How high-dimensional geometry is transforming the MRI industry"*presented by David Donoho, Stanford University. - December 2016,
*"How Mathematical Models Predict Emerging Epidemics,"*presented by Mac Hyman, Tulane University. - December 2015,
*"From right triangles to modern cryptography"*presented by Ken Ribet, University of California-Berkeley. - December 2014,
*"The Future of Mathematics: Education & Innovation"*presented by Robert Ghrist, Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Mathematics and Electrical/Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. - December 2013,
*"How Math Fuels the Knowledge Economy"*presented by Mark L. Green, professor emeritus at the University of California-Los Angeles. - December 2012,
*"Chaos and Avalanches in Science and Socio-Political Systems"*presented by James A. Yorke, professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Maryland. - December 2011,
*"Mathematics: Leading the Way for New Options in the Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease"*presented by Suncica Canic, professor of mathematics at the University of Houston. - October 2010,
*"The Gulf Oil Spill: How Can We Protect our Beaches in the Future?"*presented by Andrea Bertozzi, professor of mathematics at UCLA. - October 2009,
*"The Movies, the Markets and Mathematics",*presented by Stuart Geman, professor of applied mathematics at Brown University. - September 2008,
*"Can Mathematics Cure Leukemia?"*presented by Doron Levy, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park. - September 2007,
*"Mathematics of Ice to Aid Global Warming Forecasts*", presented by Ken Golden, professor of mathematics at the University of Utah. - November 2006,
*"The Necessity of Mathematics: From Google to Counterterrorism to Sudoku"*, presented by Amy Langville, professor of mathematics at the College of Charleston. - November 2005,
*"From Katrina Forward: How Mathematics Helps Predict Storm Surges"*, presented by Clint Dawson, professor at the University of Texas and a member of the Center for Subsurface Modeling in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences; and James Westerink, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame. - September 2004,
*"Homeland Security: What Can Mathematics Do?"*presented by Fred Roberts, professor of mathematics and director of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) at Rutgers University. - July 2003,
*"Mathematics is Biology's Next Microscope, Only Better; Biology is Mathematics' Next Physics, Only Better"*presented by Joel E. Cohen, Laboratory of Populations, Rockefeller and Columbia Universities. - February 2002,
*"Mathematics, Patterns and Homeland Security"*, presented by Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University. - July 2001,
*"Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics"*, a briefing on this National Research Council Report presented by Deborah Loewenberg Ball and Hyman Bass, University of Michigan and by Roger Howe, Yale University. **Other previous briefings include:***What Does Water Know About Mathematics*, by Mary Fannett Wheeler, The University of Texas at Austin*Calculating the Secrets of Life: Mathematics in Medicine*by DeWitt Sumners, Florida State University*Eavesdropping on the Internet: Mathematics and Policy*by Carl Pomerance, University of Georgia*Mathematical Transcriptions of the Real World: Fingerprints, Magnetic Resonance and Video*by Ronald Coifman, Yale University