Chennai Mathematical Institute


3.30 p.m.
Making light of mathematics

Sir Michael Berry
Bristol University, U.K.


Many 'mathematical phenomena' find application and sometimes spectacular physical illustration in the physics of light. Concepts such as fractals, catastrophe theory, knots, infinity, zero, and even when 1+1 fails to equal 2, are needed to understand rainbows, twinkling starlight, sparkling seas, oriental magic mirrors, and simple experiments on interference, polarization and focusing. The lecture will be based on pictures.