Lecture: Fibonacci, Penrose, Harry Potter? An introduction to the strange world of quasicrystals.
Lecture by Dr Joe Smerdon (UCLan)
Refreshments from 6pm, lecture starts 6.30pm and ends at 8pm.
Location: Harrington Lecture Theatre, Harrington Building, University of Central Lancashire, 11 Victoria St, Preston, PR1 7QS
“Fibonacci, Penrose, Harry Potter? An introduction to the strange world of quasicrystals.”
Dan Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for a discovery he made in 1982, which was so controversial that it was not published until 1984 (nor broadly accepted until ten years later) but for which the mathematical groundwork had been laid in 1974 by Roger Penrose. I will describe a journey from Virahanka (top marks if you recognise that name!) via Fibonacci, Penrose and Shechtman to technology Harry Potter might recognise.
Penrose’s seminal publication was called ‘The Role of Aesthetics in Pure and Applied Mathematical Research’. His quest was for beauty divorced from reality, and yet, as it turns out, even the most abstract and beautiful mathematical forms can have physical manifestations. I will describe the intricate journey towards understanding of quasicrystals. I will show how in three simple steps, one can progress from (1+1=2) to emerge into a complex world of beautiful geometry.
Dan Shechtman’s ‘quasicrystals’ have transformed the world of condensed matter physics. My talk is about the startlingly simple mathematics underpinning their geometries, the journey from discovery to accepted fact, and the current state of the art, applications and prospects for this fascinating topic