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Seven Wonders of Physics: Distinguished Visiting Professor Sir Michael Berry

Wed, Oct 03, 2012, 2:00 PM - 3:45 PM
LOCATION: Reinsch Library Auditorium; reception following presentation in Lee Reception Room

Distinguished Visiting Professor Sir Michael Berry, Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus) at Bristol University, United Kingdom, will share his fascination with the wonders of physics. As he explains, “Sometimes, nature and technology can illustrate and bring to life the abstract ideas of physics and mathematics in beautiful and unexpected ways. My seven wonders include the great moon-driven river wave, light interference magnified in rainbows, the hair's-thread of fuel that powers a car, and the colour of gold.”

The Berry phase, a phenomenon observed in optics and quantum mechanics, was named for him. Dr. Berry notes, “Many incompletely understood phenomena lurk in the borderlands between physical theories -- between classical and quantum, between rays and waves... These borderlands -- the domain of physical asymptotics -- are my intellectual habitat, with an emphasis on geometrical aspects of waves (especially phase) and chaos. A source of delight is uncovering down-to-earth or dramatic and sometimes beautiful examples of abstract mathematical ideas.”

He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1982 and knighted in 1996. Dr. Berry has been the editor of the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, since 2006.

Sir Michael Berry is a Distinguished Visiting Professor to the School of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact Dr. Eric Bubar: eric.bubar@marymount.edu; 703-284-6536