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6 March 2006 PR 06/20

Making light of mathematics

The physics of light will be the main focus of the annual Sir Nevill Mott lecture, being hosted by Loughborough University’s Department of Physics.

Presented by the eminent scientist and Ig Nobel prize winner Professor Sir Michael Berry, the lecture is taking place on Thursday, March 16 at 5pm. It is just one of a number of events that have been organised by the University’s Faculty of Science to mark National Science Week.

Professor Sir Michael Berry is a Royal Society research professor at Bristol University and winner of the 2000 Ig Nobel prize in Physics. Speaking about the lecture he said: “Many mathematical phenomena find application and sometimes spectacular physical illustration in the physics of light. Concepts such as fractals, catastrophe theory, knots, infinity, zero, and even when one plus one fails to equal two, are needed to understand rainbows, twinkling starlight, sparkling seas, oriental magic mirrors and simple experiments on interference, polarization and focusing.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the free lecture, which will be non-technical but detailed. It is being held on campus in the Wolfson Building, room T003. This is building 12 on the West Park area of the campus map (grid reference C/D 5), which can be found at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/about/map/pages/map-westpark.html

Advance booking is not required. For further information about the lecture, and all the other events taking place on campus for National Science Week, contact Jackie Baseley by emailing j.a.baseley@lboro.ac.uk or calling 01509 228336.

Ends

For further information contact:

Notes to editors

1. National Science Week is coordinated by the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) and is supported by the Department of Trade & Industry and sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council.

2. An online programme of events can be found at: http://www.the-ba.net/the-ba/Events/NationalScienceWeek/

3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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