University of Rochester

Noted Scientist to Discuss Physics of Rainbows, Twinkling Stars

April 17, 1997

Rebutting poet John Keats' assertion that science's hunger for explanation taints the natural world's beauty, a renowned British physicist will give a talk at the University of Rochester this month on the physics underlying such spectacular phenomena as rainbows, twinkling stars, and the scintillating patterns of sunlight seen at the bottom of shallow pools.

The lecture titled "Unweaving the Rainbow," by Professor Sir Michael Berry, Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Bristol, will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 in Room 109 of Bausch & Lomb Hall on the University's River Campus. Berry will accompany his talk with slides and will tailor his remarks for non-scientists. The session is free and open to the public.

Berry, a theoretical physicist who has made contributions to fields ranging from classical optics to quantum chaos, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. He is an elected member of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Arts, the European Academy, and the National Academy of Science.

Berry will also deliver a series of technical talks during his visit the week of April 28. His appearance in Rochester is part of the Elliott W. Montroll Lectures, a lecture series held by the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy to commemorate a leading mathematical and statistical physicist who was a member of the faculty from 1966 to 1981.