Announcing the 2014 Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures

The Physics Department is excited to announce that the 2014 Robert Hofstadter Memorial lecture will be given by Sir Michael Victor Berry, Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus), University of Bristol.  A distinguished mathematical physicist, Berry was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1982 and knighted in 1986.  He is famous among other things for the Berry phase, a phenomenon observed in quantum mechanics and optics.  He specializes in semi-classical physics (asymptotic physics, quantum chaos) applied to wave phenomena in quantum mechanics and other areas such as optics.  Berry is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Maxwell Medal and Prize and the Dirac Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics.  We are delighted that he will be giving the Hofstadter evening lecture on March 3, 2014 and the Applied Physics/Physics colloquium on March 4, 2014.  Please continue to check this website for further details, or contact for more information.  We hope you will join us for what are sure to be fascinating lectures.  Click here for map:

Sir Michael Victor Berry, Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus), University of Bristol

Evening Public Lecture (8:00 PM on Monday, March 3, 2014)
Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Rm. 200

"Seven Wonders of Physics" [Video unavailable - technical trouble with recording]

Sometimes, nature illustrates the abstract ideas of physics and mathematics in beautiful ways, and the ideas can be brought to life by simple demonstrations. My seven wonders – each with a deep underlying idea ­– include the great moon-driven river wave, light interference magnified in rainbows, quantum twists and turns, and the colour of gold.

Afternoon Colloquium (4:15 PM on Tuesday, March 4, 2014)
Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Rm. 201

"Hamilton's Diabolical Singularity" [Click here for video]

Hamilton’s first application of the concept of phase-space – later so fruitful in physics - was a prediction in optics in 1831: conical refraction in biaxial crystals. This was one of the first successful predictions of a qualitatively new phenomenon using mathematics, and created a sensation. At the heart of conical refraction is a singularity, anticipating the geometric phase and the conical intersections now studied in quantum chemistry and graphene. The light emerging from the crystal contains many subtle diffraction details, whose definitive understanding and observation have been achieved only recently. Generalizations of the phenomenon involve radically different mathematical structures.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Hofstadter Dinner

After the Tuesday afternoon colloquium, a 6:00 PM reception and 7:00 PM dinner will be held in the Gold Lounge of the Stanford Faculty Club with limited seating, requiring registration here:

Dinner is $50/person, $30/student discount.  You must register and pay by Feb. 25, 2014.  


See Hofstadter Lecture series