Presidential Lecture: Patterns in Nature by Prof. Sidney Nagel


Thursday, June 29, 2023 - 15:00 to 16:00


Sydney Brenner Lecture Theater / B250


The commonplace is extraordinary! Examine closely the world around you and you’ll realize that many things that you take for granted are truly astonishing. Take, for example, a simple drop of liquid falling onto a surface: if the surface is cool and dry, the drop will likely splash; if the surface is hot, however, the drop simply hovers and never touches down. Consider another: 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, I will emphasize the surprises and elegance of how nature arranges the texture of our lives.

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