Lise Meitner Distinguished Lecture: Geometric phases and the separation of the world

AlbaNova and Nordita Colloquium

Thursday 25 April 2019
from 15:15
to 17:00 at
Oscar Klein Auditorium

Speaker :

Michael Berry (H H Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK)

Abstract :

The waves that describe systems in quantum physics can carry information
about how their environment has been altered, for example by forces acting on
them. This effect is the geometric phase. It also occurs in the optics of polarised
light, where it goes back to the 1830s. The underlying mathematics is
geometric: the phenomenon of parallel transport, which also explains how
falling cats land on their feet, and why parking a car in a narrow space is
difficult. Incorporating the back-reaction of the geometric phase on the
dynamics of the changing environment exposes the unsolved problem of how
strictly a system can be separated from a slowly-varying environment, and
involves different mathematics: divergent infinite series.