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Lecture: Making Light of Mathematics
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 5:15pm
Lecture: Making Light of Mathematics

The 2012 Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics + Statistics welcomes Professor Sir Michael Berry for the 2012 Maseeh Lecture:

Making Light of Mathematics

Wed, May 30, 5:15pm
Cramer Hall 71
Portland State University

Many ‘mathematical phenomena’ find application and sometimes spectacular physical illustration in the physics of light. Concepts such as fractals, catastrophe theory, knots, infinity, zero, and even when 1+1 fails to equal 2, are needed to understand rainbows, twinkling starlight, sparkling seas, oriental magic mirrors, and simple observations on interference, polarization and focusing. The lecture is intellectual and strongly visual but nontechnical.

Professor Sir Michael Berry
Melville Wills Professor of Physics at Bristol University (UK)

Michael Berry studies the borderlands between the physical theories of rays and waves or between classical and quantum mechanics. This is the domain of asymptotics, and Berry combines that with an emphasis on geometrical aspects of waves (especially phase) and chaos. He is famous among other things for the Berry phase, a holonomy angle in the context of wave mechanics, and has made many profound contributions to quantum mechanics and optics.
He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1982 and knighted in 1996. He has received dozens of awards and prizes; among these are the Wolf Prize for Physics (1998), the Kapitsa Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1997), and the Polya Prize of the London Mathematical Society (2005). In addition to these, he holds 10 honorary doctorates. In 1994 Berry was awarded the Louis-Vuitton Moet-Hennessy ‘Science for Art’ prize, and in 2000 he won an Ig Nobel with Andre Geim for the physics of flying frogs. Read more about Professor Berry