Geometry of self-propulsion at low reynolds number

Alfred Shapere, Frank Wilczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

297 Scopus citations


The problem of swimming at low Reynolds number is formulated in terms of a gauge field on the space of shapes. Effective methods for computing this field, by solving a linear boundary-value problem, are described. We employ conformal-mapping techniques to calculate swimming motions for cylinders with a variety of cross-sections. We also determine the net translational motion due to arbitrary infinitesimal deformations of a sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-585
Number of pages29
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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