Niels Bohr Lecture by Michael Berry

Nature’s optics and our understanding of light

Professor Michael Berry, H H Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK

Abstract: Optical phenomena visible to everyone have been central to the development of, and abundantly illustrate, important concepts in science and mathematics.

The phenomena considered include rainbows, sparkling reflections on water, mirages, green flashes, earthlight on the moon, glories, daylight, crystals, and the squint moon.

The concepts include refraction, caustics (focal singularities of ray optics), wave interference, numerical experiments, mathematical asymptotics, dispersion, complex angular momentum (Regge poles), polarization singularities, Hamilton’s conical intersections of eigenvalues (‘Dirac points’), geometric phases, and visual illusions.

  • Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 15:15 in Aud. 3 at HCØ.

About Michael Berry:

Sir Michael Victor Berry, FRS (born 14 March 1941), is a mathematical physicist at the University of Bristol, England.

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

He is famous for the Berry phase, a phenomenon observed e.g. in quantum mechanics and optics. He specialises in semiclassical physics (asymptotic physics, quantum chaos), applied to wave phenomena in quantum mechanics and other areas such as optics. He is also currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California.