Institute of Physics brings one of the world’s leading scientists to BRLSI

BRLSI has an excellent Science group (see, but there’s always room for more good science, and we’re very pleased to have been chosen by the South West branch of the Institute of Physics as the venue for a series of monthly talks, open to everyone, which began in January with Dr Helen Heath speaking on particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider.
This month’s lecture, on Wednesday February 9th at 7.30pm, is by one of the most eminent speakers ever to visit BRLSI.  Prof Sir Michael Berry FRS, of Bristol University, is one of the world’s leading mathematical physicists, editor of the Royal Society’s Proceedings journal, and the co-formulator of the Berry Phases which go some way towards the unification of classical and quantum physics, and may yet, it’s said, win him a Nobel Prize.
Prof Berry will be speaking on Emergence and Limits in Physics: How one theory can live inside another, addressing the question of how quantum mechanics can exist inside the seemingly incompatible Newtonian mechanics, and how that predicts ‘qualitatively new phenomena’ on the borderlines between theories.
If all that sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. Eminent as Prof Berry undoubtedly is, he’s also a very down to earth scientist; no stranger to public speaking, a veteran of the annual Bath Taps into Science children’s science fair (along with BRLSI’s own Bob Draper and Peter Ford) and the proud holder of an Ig Nobel Prize award for levitating a frog in a magnetic field (the frog was not hurt by this process). As IOP South West Committee member Dr Alessandro Narduzzo of Bath University explains, “the talk will be intellectually engaging and thought-provoking, but not technical; it should therefore appeal to all interested, even with little or no knowledge of maths or physics.”
January’s talk, organised by IOP South West Committee member Victor Adams, was a big success, with a full house including groups of students from three local schools, so it’ll be a good idea to get there early on Wednesday (coffee will be available from 7.00pm). As an added bonus, admission is free.
• The Institute of Physics programme at BRLSI continues on Wednesday March 16th with Professor Saiful Islam of Bath University speaking on cleaner energy conversion and storage technologies (with 3D specs for everyone!), followed on Friday May 6th by Prof James Annett of Bristol University on superconductivity, 100 years on from its discovery. Any late changes will be posted on BRLSI what’s on page. For details of the IOP’s full programme of events in the South West, see the IOP South West website.