Official Visit of Distinguished Lecturer Prof. Sir Michael Berry - October 12th and 13th, 2022

SirMichaelBerry_Photo.pngProfessor Sir Michael Berry, University of Bristol, U.K.

Michael Berry will visit UC Davis as Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, hosted by Warren Pickett on behalf of sixteen other faculty in four departments involved in research of joint interest. The visit is being supported by the Department, The College of L&S, APS, and the Moore Foundation.

Michael will provide a colloquium and a public lecture, with topics ranging from the geometric phase (Berry phase) upon which his early career and reputation is based, to everyday phenomena such as the physics of light, touching on the dancing lines of light on the bottom of swimming pools.

October 12, Public Lecture

7:00 - 8:30 pm
UC Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center
Title: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Lecture: The Physics of Light in Eighty Pictures
Speaker: Professor Emeritus Sir Michael Berry, University of Bristol
Classical optics is an ancient subject. We now have a library of 'elementary forms' that describe our everyday light. Rainbows, twinkling stars, sunlight sparkling on water, dancing lines of light on the bottoms of swimming-pools, can be understood in a unified way using modern geometry. Where wave interference must be considered, geometry describes the secret lines of light's darkness, and the fingerprints of polarisation in the blue sky - invisible to us, perceived by bees. Poets, novelists, painters, have represented optical phenomena in ways familiar to physicists.

October 13, Department Colloquium

4:10 - 5:30 pm
Student Community Center Multi-Purpose Room
Title: Geometric Phases Old and New
Speaker: Professor Emeritus Sir Michael Berry, University of Bristol
Waves in quantum physics can carry information about how their environment has been altered by forces. This is the geometric phase, seen since the 1830s in the optics of polarised light. It influences wave interference; it connects to the spin-statistics relation for identical quantum particles. The underlying mathematics is geometric: parallel transport, explaining how falling cats turn, how to park a car. Incorporating the back-reaction of the geometric phase on the dynamics exposes an open problem: how can a system be separated from a slowly-varying environment? The concept has a tangled history.