Solar Eclipse Related Talk
Speaker: Sir Michael Berry - University of
Professor Sir Michael Berry, the Melville Wills Professor of Physics at the University of Bristol, will speak about The Physics of Light in Eighty Pictures as part of the events to mark the totality of the solar eclipse passing over Texas.
Sir Michael is a theoretical physicist, renowned for groundbreaking research at the boundaries between physical theories. His work explores the interface between quantum mechanics, governing behavior at the atomic scale, and classical mechanics, which describes the motion of objects ranging from billiard balls to celestial bodies, and the intricate interplay between rays and waves in the realm of quantum optics. Investigating these limits falls within the realm of asymptotics.
In his own words, "A source of delight is uncovering down-to-earth or dramatic and sometimes beautiful examples of abstract mathematical ideas: the arcane in the mundane."
Sir Michael received his undergraduate degree from Exeter and his Ph.D. from St. Andrews before joining the University of Bristol.
Sir Michael is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society and an elected Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, among many other prestigious learned societies. He served as the editor of the Proceedings of the Royal Society from 2006 to 2012. In 1998, with Yakhir Aharonov, he was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics for the discovery of topological and quantum geometric phases. He has been awarded the Paul Dirac Medal from the Institute of Physics, the Kapitsa Medal from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Polya Prize from the London Mathematical Society and the Lorentz Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous other accolades for his outstanding contributions to theoretical physics over an illustrious career.
For a poster advertising Professor Sir Michael Berry's talk - click here.
Professor Sir Michael Berry's talk and abstract, with date and venue, are:
Talk: The Physics of Light in Eighty Pictures
Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 4:30 pm - CASHN C311
Abstract: Classical optics is an ancient subject. But only now have we discovered a library of ‘elementary forms’, that describe light in our everyday world. Rainbows, twinkling stars, sunlight sparkling on water, and the dancing lines of light on the bottoms of swimming-pools, can be understood in a unified way using modern geometry. On fine scales, where wave interference must be considered, different geometry describes the secret lines of light’s darkness, and the fingerprints of polarisation in the blue sky – invisible to us but perceived by bees. Poets and novelists, as well as painters, have sometimes represented optical phenomena in ways surprisingly close to those of physicists. The talk is nontechnical and entirely visual.