Photo of Senja Barthel

dr. Senja Barthel

    • De Boelelaan 1111, New University Building (NU)

      1081 HV Amsterdam



    Research output per year

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    Personal profile


    • Geometric topology: Topological graph theory
    • Mathematical chemistry: Shape modelling

    Topological graph theory investigates embeddings of graphs in 3-manifolds. The properties of a graph embedding are partly dependend on the graph, and partly by the particular embedding. The flavours of research questions are somewhere between graph theory and knot theory. After all, a knot is just an embedding of a cycle graph. 

    Fabio Buccoliero joined me for his PhD to think about spatial graphs.

    I am equally interested in understanding shapes and their impact in the physical world around us. I am working interdisciplinary to model shapes in physics, biology, and in particular chemistry and material sciences. Emeddings of graphs are commonly used to discribe molecules. But shapes are also found at many other places, such as in the form of pores in porous materials, or the shapes of potential energy surfaces and charge densitites.

    Where I will be

    Not anywhere physically now, online...


    Autumn 2020:

    Teaching calculus at the AUC

    Mentoring 2nd year student projects of the mechanical engineering BSc that is joined between the VU Amsterdam and UTwente. The topic is diagnostics and maintainance of the grinders in coffee machines.

    Spring 2021:

    I will teach Calculus for mechanical engineering BSc

    Last year, I taught

    • Calculus at AUC
    • Calculus for mechanical engineering
    • Mentored 1st year projects in the mechanical engineer program (developing a mechanical cutter for under water pipes)
    • assisted for Mathematical analysis at the VU Amsterdam
    • supervised three 2nd year Math BSc projects on Graph theory in Chemistry


    I have taught or assisted the following courses

    • Differential equations
    • Algebraic topology
    • Linear algebra and Geometry
    • Metric spaces and Topology
    • Mathematical Analysis 1
    • Mathematical Analysis 2
    • Quantitative methods of data analysis
    • Linear algebra for engineers
    • Mathematical analysis and Calculus for engineers

    Ancillary activities

    VPR committee (outreach, communication, etc)


    Discrete & Computational Geometry, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Zentralblatt Math, Inverse Problems, Frontiers in Chemistry (section Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics), Mathematics, Symmetry, Minerals, Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, Applied Sciences, Materials research express, Nature Communications, New Journal of Chemistry, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Acta Crystallographica Section A

    Personal information

    I am born and raised in Berlin, Germany. Before coming to Amsterdam, I lived in Switzerland, Austria, England, Japan (for a summer research stay), South Africa, and Germany. My scientific CV:

    • Postdoc at EPFL Valais/Wallis in Berend Smit's molecular simulations group (chemistry/chemical engineering department)
    • 2015 PhD from Imperial College London (Geometric topology, some modelling in topological cystallography)
    • 2009 Diplom (MSc) Mathematics from TU Berlin (Differential topology, master thesis on Gravitational lensing joined with Astronomy)
    • 2007 Diplom (MSc) Music Pedagogics from UdK Berlin (master thesis on mathematial music theory, and on the theory and pedagogics of musical temperaments)
    • 2006 Vordiplom (BSc without the thesis) Physics from TU Berlin

    In a parallel life I was an instrumental teacher and general music educator at the Musikschule Fanny Hensel Berlin (2007-2009) and at the Keiskamma Music Academy in Hamburg, South Africa (for 6 months in 2010). I taught recorder in groups and individually, gave ensamble lessons, taught music theory, history, and improvisation. My students won the Grahamtown Eisteddfod and we toured South Africa in concert. I won the first price of the South African "Rising star" music competition. After returning to Europe, I co-founded a recorder ensemble. We were awarded a Yehudi Menuhin fellowship in 2011.

    Ancillary activities

    No ancillary activities

    Ancillary activities are updated daily


    • QA Mathematics
    • geometric topology
    • low dimensional topology
    • topological graph theory
    • knot theory
    • chirality
    • graph theory
    • Q Science
    • mathematical chemistry
    • QD Chemistry
    • porous materials
    • zeolites
    • metal organic frameworks
    • reticular chemistry
    • crystallography


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