Kavli Institute For Theoretical Physics
The KITP Public Lecture Series

Impact and Intrusion

sponsored by Friends of KITP

The commonplace is extraordinary!

Examine closely the world around you and many things that you take for granted are astonishing. Take, for example, a simple drop of liquid falling onto a surface: if the surface is cool and dry, the drop likely will splash; if the surface is hot, however, the drop simply hovers and never touches down. Consider again: when a liquid is compressed between two smooth surfaces, it forms an expected circular disk; but when the plates are separated, quite a different pattern emerges. This is a form of dilation symmetry caused by the penetration of space. It is all around and within us. In this talk, Professor Nagel will emphasize the surprises and elegance of how nature arranges the texture of our lives. 

About the Speaker

Sidney Nagel is an experimental physicist. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and did a postdoc at Brown University prior to joining the University of Chicago in 1976 where he is now the Stein- Frieler Distinguished Service Professor of Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He won the Oliver Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society and the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award from American Association of Physics Teachers. His interests are in behavior that epitomizes complexity: far-from-equilibrium, disordered and highly non-linear. Examples of such behavior surround us and often are so familiar that we hardly realize that they defy our normal intuition. Here the commonplace becomes extraordinary and lead the inquisitive into new realms of physics.