Self-avoiding walks (SAWs) are widely studied as a problem in algebraic combinatorics by mathematicians, as a
problem in algorithm design by computer scientists, as a model of phase transitions by mathematical
physicists and as a model of polymers in dilute solution by chemists.
More recently biologists have used them as models of DNA folding, and to model experiments in which biological molecules are pulled from a surface. I will describe the rather short list of rigorous results, the longer list of what we "know" to be true but can't prove, and describe some numerical results that are of interest in applications. No prior knowledge is assumed.
(Talk via Access Grid, hosted by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.)