Public Lecture: "How Quantum Physics Democratized Music"

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Kuiper 308

    Michael V. Berry, professorial research fellow and emeritus professor of physics at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom), will present a unique perspective on the complex connections between quantum physics and human culture.


    Connections between physics and technological invention and aspects of human life that seem far from science are both unexpected and unexpectedly common. And rather than flowing one way − from physics to gadgets − the connections form an intricate web, linking all aspects of human culture in a way that frustrates our convenient compartmentalisations and coarse interventions aimed at promoting technology transfer. I will discuss this theme not abstractly but with examples, ranging from music to the color of gold, and explain how quantum physics helps me do quantum physics (sic).

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Michael V. Berry received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1965 from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Best known for the discovery of the geometric phase (now named after him), he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a fellow of the Royal Institution, a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences. His many awards include the Wolf Prize in Physics from the Wolf Foundation; the Royal Medal of the Royal Society; the Naylor Prize of the London Mathematical Society; the Dirac Medal and prize of the Institute of Physics; the Kapitsa Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences; the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society; and the Polya Prize of the London Mathematical Society. He also shared, with Andrey Geim, the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in physics for elucidating the physics of flying frogs.